SAS base to get $220m upgrade

Nick Butterly

Special Air Service Regiment families say a Government plan to redevelop Campbell Barracks shows why it would be a mistake to bulldoze nearby military homes.

The Abbott Government announced yesterday it would spend $220 million to upgrade the SASR’s Swanbourne base, constructing new specialist buildings and upgrading security at the complex.

The plan is separate from a push to redevelop Seaward Village — the so-called “marriage patch” for SASR families bordering Campbell Barracks.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester said much of Campbell Barracks was outdated and needed replacement.

“The redevelopment project will give the SASR the facilities they need to work, operate, maintain and support the army’s efforts, both in wartime and peace,” he said.

The specifics of the proposed build are being kept under wraps because of security concerns. However, it is understood 34 buildings on the site will be demolished and new working accommodation blocks, a new high-tech operations precinct and a more secure entry screening area will be built.

Many of the buildings on the site date back to when the regiment was established in Perth in the late 1950s and do not meet current fire codes.

The Government proposed earlier this year to sell a quarter of the neighbouring Seaward Village to fund a redevelopment of homes for SASR families.

The plan is being fought by some military families, who fear the change will expose them to security risks and split up the tight-knit community.

Some SASR families said yesterday that the plan to redevelop Campbell Barracks made clear the base was staying put in Swanbourne for the long term and there should be no sale of parts of Seaward Village.