Australians being kept in the dark about Pine Gap expansion

June 18, 2024
The United States spy base, Pine Gap, is being expanded. Photo: Felicity Ruby via @PeterCronau/X

A massive expansion program at the United States base at Pine Gap has been hidden from the public according to a new investigation in the June 15 Saturday Paper.

Peter Cronau revealed that over the last few years the secretive base has been expanded to now include 10 new satellite, or antennae, dishes.

The work involved clearing 14 hectares of land to accommodate three new radomes. 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, spokesperson for Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR).

“Cronau’s investigation makes clear that the community was not informed, nor consulted in any way, about the expanded footprint at Pine Gap.”

According to Cronau: “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,” said Broinowski.

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

Reports in recent months suggest that Pine Gap is playing a role in the military onslaught in Gaza, which millions of Australians would disagree with.

Cronau’s investigation highlights Pine Gape’s role in the US nuclear weapons program, and how the base would be used in the event of a war between big powers.

“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,” Broinowski said.

“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 US.”

She said Cronau’s investigation “highlights the urgent need for war powers reform”.

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