I AM appalled that the Defence Housing Authority still lacks respect for SAS Seaward families.
Clearly, it considers the review by Lt General Evans as a temporary impediment, soon to be thwarted, so it continues advertising for contractors.
DHA’s conduct flagged that the Abbott government disrespected the SAS. Is this unchanged under PM Turnbull?
Through DHA, the Feds inflict great anxiety from massive disruption for six years to Seaward, indifferent to deep concerns of SAS personnel and families over security, amenity and wellbeing.
Heedless of serious attendant issues, DHA wants to render Seaward bare sand, demolishing153 brick houses, mostly built less than 25 years ago; then squeeze 165 replacements into as little as 60 per cent of the space.
Indicative cost is $180 million (you hope). DHA wants to flog the rest of the land as a millionaires’ estate, arguing that sales raising $160m will help pay for new army houses.
Falling prices may foist great loss onto taxpayers from DHA’s folly. Next, such lifestyle occupants will demand SAS relocation because of gun and helicopter noise.
Juxtaposing close, uncontrolled civilian ownership and access next to Seaward and Campbell Barracks creates a serious security hazard. DHA ignores this in breach of the 1991 covenant, a condition of Seaward stewardship. This is perplexing, given the high terrorist alert.
Terry Nolan, SAS Association president, and former SAS Regiment commander said reassurance was needed on a whole lot of security issues including possible espionage and the security of personnel and their families. The threat levels were far higher now than they were 20 years ago.
SAS families oppose the dislocation and impoverished amenity inherent in rebuilding. They express strong preference for refurbishing their homes. Some recent renovation proves this is viable.
Though overall repairs have been long and serially deferred, evidence that wholesale replacement is more cost-effective or desirable is missing.
SAS personnel and families make huge sacrifices serving the nation. Respecting their security and amenity is consistent with respecting and valuing them.
The Swanbourne community love our very special SAS folk. We are aghast that the Feds are pursuing such a damaging campaign against them. Perhaps DHA acts without ministerial accountability.
A leadership test for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is will he terminate the crass disrespect towards the SAS and their long-suffering families who deserve the best care we may render them.