20 February 2020 DHA’S Mount Lofty development to be reconsidered

FOLLOWING a review of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirements, the Defence Housing Australia (DHA) proposed development for Mount Lofty will not proceed as planned.

Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh, who convened a meeting in January with Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) and the new DHA Managing Director Mr Barry Jackson, said he was very pleased to secure this outcome. 

'At our recent meeting, I encouraged both parties to consider all possible alternatives to the current proposal to get the best outcome for the community, DHA and the local environment,' Dr McVeigh said.

'To date I have respected the fact that DHA as an independent authority has the right to submit development applications, and that in this case TRC has the sole decision making authority. However, it has become clear to me in recent months that DHA under their new Managing Director has been reviewing its business model.  This has provided the opportunity to reconsider the requirements.'

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said DHA’s development proposal for the Mount Lofty site was first submitted in 2018 and was planned to provide housing in the Toowoomba region for ADF members and their families.

'Due to a change in requirements from when the application was first submitted, the development as originally planned, is no longer required,' Mr Chester said.

DHA acquired the former Defence-owned rifle range, known as Mount Lofty, from the Department of Defence in 2016. The 379 hectare site was earmarked for a 342 lot residential development with 325 hectares to be transferred to the Council to be protected in perpetuity.

Dr McVeigh said he was pleased that DHA had been responsive in considering how best to move forward and was confident the community’s concerns were being heard. 

'I am especially pleased that DHA is committed to working with the Council on suitable alternatives for the site,' Dr McVeigh said.

'While I understand that DHA’s application was to be decided sometime after the Council elections on 28 March, I am sure the community will see this as a positive step and that this update will provide some clarity moving forward.

'I have met with local residents, including with the Minister, on these issues since late 2018 and look forward to providing further updates in the near future.'

DHA’s Chairman, the Hon J.A.L. (Sandy) Macdonald said 'DHA appreciates the site’s military history and environmental significance, and is committed to working towards an outcome that best meets the needs of ADF families and the local community.'