Army’s exercise a real scream for kids

KIDS were left screaming in terror last Friday when their soccer training at Bruce Lee Oval was interrupted by loud explosions that turned out to be an Army training exercise.

Beaconsfield resident Sophie Moleta had just walked to Bruce Lee when the first explosion went off.

“Just as we arrived a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot or explosion coming from … behind Fremantle college, went off,” Ms Moleta said.

Her son said some of the soccer kids started screaming, as the echoing report was so loud it sounded as though someone was shooting at them.

Families also started pouring out of their homes.

“My son was pretty concerned and wanted to call the police, so we did – they knew nothing,” Ms Moleta said.

“Ten minutes later I received a call back saying it was military defence training and would go on till about 8pm.”

Ms Moleta said Freo council seemed none-the-wiser about the training, and after a little switchboard ping pong to Defence she was abruptly cut off.

“The sound was definitely louder than the acceptable dB level and no one seemed to know what or where it was.

“If it was military training in the area surely residents have a right to know that the training is going on prior to it happening,” Ms Moleta said.

Defence did flag the training exercises on its website, but the information is deliberately vague about the timing “in order to protect operational tactics, techniques and procedures”.

But in an email to the Herald, the department says it’s aware exercises might result in noise disturbance.

“As part of its standard practice, Defence consulted with relevant authorities prior to this exercise, including WA Police and the location owner. To help minimise disruptions, Defence provides noise alerts on its website and generally provides letter to nearby residents and business owners.”

The department says the training is essential to give defence personnel realistic experiences and make sure our forces are at their highest level of capability.

But it continues to work with communities to minimise disruption.

By STEVE GRANT

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