Pine Gap. Photo by FELICITY RUBY.
EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA
The US spy base Pine Gap should be asked to provide “geo surveillance” to assist police detecting illegal drivers on bush roads to biosecurity designated areas who are breaking quarantine rules put in place to combat COVID-19.
Territory Alliance Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured) says in a letter to Chief Minister Michael Gunner and others: “It is widely understood that one of the key functions of Pine Gap is to gather geolocational intelligence used in defence.
“This technology could be used to protect Australia during the Coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the NT in policing our remote designated areas.
“It is widely known that people are avoiding COVID-19 biosecurity check points and thus, mandatory quarantining, by using bush tracks when travelling back to their remote NT communities.
“Despite the best efforts by the NT Police Service, it is impossible to provide biosecurity check points on every bush track to stop this.”
Mrs Lambley says the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, located 19 kilometres from the town, has been a part of the Alice Springs community since 1988, with staff and their families comprising about 6% of the population of Alice Springs.
“The facility has always been a good corporate citizen of Alice Springs,” she says.
“Now is the time to call upon the Pine Gap, with their extensive expertise and resources, to assist the NT, and possibly other Australian jurisdictions, in securing our remote COVID-19 biosecurity designated areas.”
UPDATE 11.30am April 11
Mrs Lambley says the Police Commissioner “responded to my letter promptly yesterday saying that essentially they have this problem under control and it is not a big as what people say.
Police are already working with the ADF and with DAAC processes. I have asked for clarification what these are.
The Commissioner did not comment on the idea of working with Pine Gap to provide more comprehensive surveillance.