RAAF base protection

WELLINGTON Shire Council has voted to protect the Royal Australian Air Force Base East Sale.

Cr Malcolm Hole proposed a motion to ensure any new planning permit would not detrimentally affect the operational safety of aircraft or the opportunity for the reasonable future expansion of RAAF Base, East Sale.

The motion also included a commitment to continue working with the RAAF and industry to provide the best solution for Defence Project AIR5428, which intends to provide air force, army and navy with a new fixed wing pilot training system, and welcomes an even greater air force presence in Gippsland.

Council intends to work towards the relocation of the Basic Flying Training School from Tamworth to East Sale or the surrounding region and hopes demonstrating its willingness to protect the base’s airspace and flight paths will swing defence to support Wellington’s bid.

Cr Hole used the current dispute between the Port Stephens council and the Defence Department over rezoning land under aircraft flight paths as residential as an example.

Referring to the Port Stephens Examiner of May 30, 2013, Cr Hole said on the front page was the heading “Sparks fly over land zoned lots splits defence and council” .

The article stated… “the relationship between the Department of Defence and Port Stephens councillors is growing hostile after neither party agreed to stand down in relation to a 53-lot subdivision, which lies under aircraft flight paths”.

Cr Hole quoted the article where Port Stephens’ Cr Paul LeMottee is reported as saying “If the Department of Defence really do object to the development they should do so with their cheque book and purchase the affected land at market value for residentially zoned land”.

“In the Wellington Shire we know how much the RAAF base means to our economy,” he said.

The object of my motion is we send the message that this council, on behalf of the people we represent, will give them (RAAF) the protection they are not going to get in Williamtown, they can come here with a great deal of confidence … and that we also notify Air Marshall Geoff Brown, who went to Port Stephens, the (Wellington) council is right behind you and the RAAF base,” he said.