MORE UNCERTAINTY FOR BORNEO BARRACKS UNDER GILLARD GOVERNMENT
The Gillard Government must reveal its plans for the future of the Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah, following the release of the Australian Defence Force Posture Review, Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane said.
“The Borneo Barracks is a vital part of our local economy. But the Labor Government has ducked and weaved from ever putting on the record its intentions for the future of the base,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“It can’t dodge the question for ever. The Government’s Defence Force Posture Review, released today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defence Minister Stephen Smith, has raised the prospect of relocating the Cabarlah wing of the School of Signals to either Melbourne or a so-called ‘super base’ at Edinburgh. (Australian Defence Force Posture Review, p38 – http://www.defence.gov.au/oscdf/adf-posture-review/docs/final/Report.pdf)
“No definite recommendation has been made and the report makes clear that Defence would have to further consider the issue before a final decision was made.
“This puts the future of the Base squarely in the hands of the Government.
“Ever since the Labor Party came into office it has been unforgivably indecisive about the future of regional defence bases. The Government originally claimed the issue would be addressed in its first Defence White Paper, which was finally released, months later than promised, in 2009.
“But that White Paper didn’t make any recommendations about the Borneo Barracks, and then the document was buried by the Rudd/Gillard Governments.
“Now Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced plans for a second Defence White Paper, meaning years more uncertainty about the future of the Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah.
“Prior to the last election the Coalition made clear our commitment to retain the Base at its current location at Cabarlah in recognition of the important role in plays in the local community and because of the significance of having Defence facilities in regional areas.
“It’s time for the divided and dysfunctional Gillard Government to stop obsessing about itself and its leadership woes. It must end the confusion and put on the public record its plans for the Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah.”