The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon David Feeney, has today re-confirmed that no coastal land is being acquired as part of the Australian Defence Force’s expanded Cultana Training Area.
He gave the commitment at a meeting with representatives from both the Regional Development Authority (RDA) - Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, and the City of Whyalla.
Senator for South Australia, the Hon Don Farrell, also attended the meeting.
“It is always helpful to meet with people from the area and to talk to them about what Defence is doing here and why. It really is quite a crucial investment for the Government to make to ensure Defence has the appropriate training facilities and I think most people understand that,” Senator Feeney said.
At the meeting, the Senators outlined the latest information on the expansion, its importance to future Defence capability and the potential economic benefits for Whyalla.
“We are handing back some 30 square kilometres of the Roopena and Tregalana pastoral leases back to the South Australian Government, ensuring there is ample land for any future expansion of the city. It is definitely a good outcome for the people of Whyalla,” Senator Feeney said.
“The expansion remains important to the nation as it will provide Defence with a much-needed large-scale training area located outside of the wet season zone in northern Australia.
“The land that Army needs to train on must be large, challenging and diverse in order to offer a range of tactical scenarios. As our overseas operations draw down, our troops will need places like Cultana to train, keeping them ready for anything. That is why the Cultana Training Area is essential.
“Having the training area in this region is also a boon for Whyalla. It will mean having an essential Defence facility near by, and all the economic benefits that entails, whether it’s more people coming to Whyalla, or potential opportunities for local businesses to apply for, such as construction and maintenance works,” he said.
The concept of a coastal road was also debunked in the meeting with RDA and the City of Whyalla. Although there is no formed road through the Cultana Training Area that could be used to base a coastal link between Whyalla and Port Augusta, the idea continues to receive oxygen.
“It just wouldn’t be possible to have a road cutting through such a vital live training area. Along with the obvious safety implications of being in an area where there is live ammunition, there is also the practical implication of dividing a training area that by necessity and design, must be large. Hopefully that idea has today been put to rest,” Senator Feeney said.
Further information is available on the Cultana Training Area Expansion Project website at http://www.defence.gov.au/id/cultana/
Senator Feeney’s Office: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Senator Farrell’s Office: Tom Zed (08) 8231 8400
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999