The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon David Feeney, visited Queenscliff on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula yesterday for discussions with Queenscliffe Council about issues relating to Defence land in the Borough of Queenscliffe. He was accompanied by the federal Labor Member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman.
“I was very pleased to meet today with Mayor Bob Merriman and other members of the Queenscliffe Council and Council staff,” Senator Feeney said. “We discussed issues relating to the Queenscliff Golf Club, which is located on Swan Island, land owned by the Department of Defence. We also discussed the future ofFortQueenscliff, a historic Defence property in the town.”
Senator Feeney toured the Golf Club site with Cr Merriman and Council and Golf Club staff, who explained the problems the Club is experiencing with the growing kangaroo population of the island, and also problems relating to access to the Club via the single bridge linking the island to the mainland.
“It is apparent to me that there is a problem with the kangaroo population, which is causing considerable environmental damage to the island, part of which is a Ramsar-listed wetland, as well as causing the Golf Club expense and inconvenience,” Senator Feeney said. “Since the land is owned by Defence, we must work with the Council and the Golf Club to find a solution to this problem. I assured the Mayor that I would ask Defence to give this problem immediate attention.”
Senator Feeney also said that a solution needed to be found to the problem of access to the Golf Club, since the single bridge to the island is controlled by Defence. “I’m sure a way can be found to allow Golf Club members and visitors greater access to the golf course, while meeting Defence’s security requirements, since the golf course and the Defence facilities are at opposite ends of the island.”
On the future ofFortQueenscliff, Senator Feeney assured the Council that Defence intended maintaining its long-standing presence in Queenscliff, although the mix of functions carried out at the Fort would change. “Defence Minister Stephen Smith has given a firm commitment that Defence will be staying in Queenscliff, and I’m happy to repeat that today,” he said. “I’m not yet able to announce the details of Defence’s future use of the Fort, since discussions are continuing, but I hope to able to do so soon.”
Senator Feeney thanked Darren Cheeseman for inviting him to Queenscliff and explaining local issues. “Darren has been a great supporter of Defence and a tireless advocate for the interests of Queenscliff. I’ll be working closely with him to find solutions to the issues I discussed with the Council today.”
Imagry is available at:
Jeffrey Von Drehnen (Senator Feeney’s Office): 0467 791 309
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999