Following the release of the Defence Strategic Review on Monday, the government announced today it would invest $3.8billion over the next four years in Australia’s northern military bases.
FILE PHOTO: Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemasters at RAAF Base Learmonth during Exercise Northern Shield 2015. Photo by Corporal Janine Fabre.
Minister for Defence Richard Marles said a key priority area identified in response to the Defence Strategic Review was improving the ability of the Australian Defence Force to operate from Australia’s northern bases.
“It is clear that given our strategic circumstances, the Australian Army must be optimised for littoral operations in northern land and maritime spaces, and provide a long-range strike capability,” Mr Marles said.
“Royal Australian Air Force must also be equipped to support operations in the north through surveillance, air defence, strike and air transport.
“In order to realise this, the government has directed Defence to deliver upgrades and development of the northern bases network as a matter of priority, including:
- $2billion for critical air-bases stretching from RAAF Base Learmonth through Cocos (Keeling) Islands, as well as air bases in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland;
- $1billion for upgrades to land and joint estate capabilities;
- $600million in maritime-estate investments including HMAS Coonawarra, HMAS Cairns and the Harold E Holt Naval Communications Station; and,
- an additional $200million towards the acceleration of additional projects.
“In line with the recommendations of the Defence Strategic Review, work across northern air bases will include upgrades to runway and apron capacity, fuel supply and storage, accommodation and security,” Mr Marles said.
“Investment in land and estate will be centred on major training-area upgrades in the Northern Territory, and upgrades at Robertson Barracks in Darwin and Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.
“This immediate work will be complemented by the inaugural National Defence Strategy in 2024 which will further progress the government’s investment for this important priority.”
Mr Marles said our northern bases were a huge asset and critical to Australia’s ability to project.
“Our immediate investment in these bases will ensure our defence force is able to operate from them effectively.
“This is an important opportunity which will ensure the ADF has the infrastructure and capabilities it needs into the future.”
Download the government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review here.
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