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Ecologically Sustainable Development and Environmental Performance

Administration of the Commonwealth Policy on the Management of Land Affected by Unexploded Ordnance

Defence provides advice to Commonwealth, state, territory and local government authorities, and where appropriate, individual landholders, on the policy, technical and commercial aspects of unexploded ordnance management. Established relationships continue to work well with government agencies in the worst affected states - Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. A summary of the activities of the Defence unexploded ordnance program is set out below.

The field assessment of sites in Queensland is now essentially complete and reports continue to be passed to the Queensland Government. The personnel and equipment deployed for the Queensland project were re-located to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory in 2005, where a national unexploded ordnance office has been established.

The Defence unexploded ordnance website (www.defence.gov.au/uxo) has been significantly improved. In addition to the provision of information of interest on unexploded ordnance and on safety, a mapping facility on unexploded ordnance-affected areas has also been incorporated allowing the public to check whether or not land title of interest is affected by unexploded ordnance and, if so, to access advice on to the level of contamination. Information on Queensland properties is currently available on the site.

The Defence unexploded ordnance register has also been significantly revised through the incorporation of information from the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on historical land acquisition. The database of unexploded ordnance-affected sites has been reviewed. There is no significant variation in the total number of sites to that reported in 2004-05. Information on sites, by state and territory, is presented below.

Table 7.15 Summary of Unexploded Ordnance Sites by State/Territory
State/ Territory Total sites registered Commonwealth owned/ controlled State/ privately owned Sites assessed Significant sites Minor sites Not assessed
ACT 9 8 1 8 8 1 1
Qld 381 18 363 229 66 315 152
NSW 183 25 158 149 44 139 34
Vic 89 13 76 0 18 71 89
Tas 62 5 57 1 5 57 61
SA 75 8 67 0 14 61 75
WA 228 7 221 0 25 203 228
NT 80 4 76 0 31 49 80
Total 1,107 88 1,019 387 211 896 720

It is expected to take in the order of ten years to complete a national program of assessments and mapping of unexploded ordnance sites that are categorised as significant.

The five-year term of the first Defence unexploded ordnance panel, which comprised commercial unexploded ordnance contractors and consultants, expired on 30 June 2005. The panel mechanism has provided an efficient and effective means to deliver Defence-sponsored investigative surveys and remediation projects. The selection of a new panel is under way.

Full page unexploded ordnance warnings were again placed in police child safety handbooks in all states as a means to increase public awareness of unexploded ordnance hazards. In Queensland, additional public awareness activities continued to be undertaken in areas of higher risk.

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