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Pine Gap expansion – Australians being kept in the dark

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Media Release – 15 June 2024

A massive expansion program at the U.S. base at Pine Gap has been effectively hidden from the Australian public according to a new investigation in today’s Saturday Paper.

The report by journalist and former Four Corners producer Peter Cronau has revealed that over the last few years the secretive base has been expanded to now include ten new satellite or antennae dishes.

The work involved clearing 14 hectares of land to accommodate three new radomes but none of the work was announced or required any normal approval process.

“The lack of transparency surrounding this work is unacceptable,” said Dr Alison Broinowski, a former diplomat and spokesperson for Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR).

“This investigation makes it clear that the Australian community was not informed nor consulted in any way about the expanded footprint at Pine Gap.”

According to The Saturday Paper, “No announcement was made to the Australian population, no permission sought from parliament, no development application to the regional council for the works”.

“Australians expect sensitive decisions such as these to be made in an open and accountable way, including a discussion in parliament but this report shows the parliament has been side-lined again,” Broinowski said.

“Instead we discover what is happening via the media who had to access satellite imagery in order to keep the public informed.”

In recent months reports have suggested that Pine Gap is playing a role in the military onslaught in Gaza, something that would disturb millions of Australians.

Today’s story highlights the base’s role in the U.S. nuclear weapons program and how the base would be used in the event of a superpower war.

“The community and the parliament have never been asked if we want to be involved in this process yet these facilities are being expanded without due process. This should concern everyone.”

“Without full transparency about Pine Gap and other military bases Australia could easily be dragged into another foreign war before we know it. In fact we may already be involved in existing conflicts via these bases and because of increasing military interoperability with the U.S.”

“These matters should be discussed and debated in parliament and today’s investigation once again highlights the urgent need for war powers reform.

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