American ambitions to build a naval base in Perth to accommodate nuclear-powered attack submarines, aircraft carriers and missile cruisers should be rejected, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said today.
A US report due for official release tomorrow includes a recommendation to massively increase the American military presence in Australia by expanding the Stirling base in Perth.
The plan is part of one of four options in the Centre for Strategic and International Studies report commissioned by the US defence department.
Senator Ludlam said Perth should not be used as a base by the Americans to support military posturing against China.
"The authors of the report were directed to determine the US military posture in the Asia-Pacific region in response to China's growing influence. The third option they hatched includes basing a carrier strike group at the HMAS Stirling base in Perth.
"The risks of routinely floating nuclear reactors in and out of Cockburn Sound shouldn't be underestimated. Western Australian police and emergency services personnel are completely under-resourced to cope with even a minor reactor leak.
"And are we prepared for the social and environmental impacts of an expanded foreign military presence in our communities?
"Labor enthusiastically welcomed a base hosting 2,500 US marines on a rotating basis in Darwin and has just rolled over a deal with Washington over use of the North West Cape base for another 25 years. Will they also roll out the red carpet for a permanent American base accommodating a nuclear aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines in Perth?
"The Australian Government needs to take a clear stand against this proposed encroachment on our independence. We are not a colony."