A naval base on the Gold Coast is not possible

The suggestion that a naval base should be established on the Gold Coast omits the obvious constraint that there is no suitable harbour.

Monday, 06 February 2012
Letter to The Gold Coast Bulletin
(not published)

Monday’s editorial advocating a naval base on the Gold Coast was ridiculous. 

First the primary role of the Department of Defence is defence, not national development (or pork-barrelling). ADF bases must be located where they are most useful strategically, operationally and sustainably. 

Second, rather than “available options in terms of a location for a base are perfect”, a moment’s study of nautical charts clearly indicates the Gold Coast’s marked unsuitability.

Not least the total lack of a large, deep-water harbour, with preferably two deep-water entrances, and unimpeded access to oceanic deep water and offshore exercise areas away from civil shipping and boating. 

Third, the cost of housing on the Coast would mean the sailors and their families having to live unreasonably long commuting distances from such a base. 

Fourth, encroaching “lifestyle farmlets” mean the operational utility of the existing defence force base at Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland is already subject to unreasonable complaints. 

Some selfish NIMBYs even want to close it, although its establishment in 1942 long predated them and the cost of duplicating it elsewhere is prohibitive.

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