Labor Must Rule Out Lancer Barracks Closure

Kevin Rudd must rule out closing Parramatta’s Lancer Barracks and Timor Barracks at Dundas given his proposal today to close the historic Garden Island naval base in Sydney, putting thousands of jobs at risk, Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott said today.

Mr Elliott said the proposal contradicts key elements of the Commonwealth’s Defence White Paper, which was issued earlier this year.

“This is an ill-thought out plan from Labor that places thousands of jobs at risk and the associated economic benefits to this State,”

“Mr Rudd and Labor now need to come clean on any other secret plans to close Defence Force facilities in NSW that provide more than 33,000 jobs to military, civilian and industry personnel.

 “Kevin Rudd and Julie Owens need to rule out very clearly that Lancer Barracks will not close if Labor is re-elected.

 “Local Army Reservists, Cadets and their families should not have to worry that they will wake up to the read in the newspaper that Mr Rudd has arbitrarily decided to close their place of work.

 “NSW is home to more than 80 of Australia’s Defence bases and establishments, and Labor’s unexpected announcement to shut down Garden Island  places all other facilities in this State on notice should Federal Labor be re-elected.

 “Earlier this year, the Commonwealth’s Defence White Paper rejected long term plans to establish a supplementary east coast fleet base in Brisbane because of its $6 billion price tag.

“Mr Rudd has now changed that position and at the same times placed a very large question mark over the future of all defence bases and facilities in NSW.” Mr Elliott said.