The federal government is set to spend $20 billion on defence infrastructure in the Northern Territory over the next 20 years.
With over 8 per cent of all Australian Defence Force personnel operating out of the Northern Territory, and the US Marine Expeditionary Force using Darwin as a global rotation base, these huge construction projects will boost not only the bases themselves, but the territory’s economy.
According to Master Builders Association NT executive director David Malone, the defence spending will increase the size of the NT economy by approximately 5 per cent over the coming decade.
“Construction projects end up being a pyramid,” Malone said, referring to opportunities that both large and small companies will have during the construction boom.
“There will be a whole lot of trades delivering these services. At some stage this is going to generate work for roofers, plumbers, sparkies and all kinds of trades,” he said.
Malone was quick to point out that SMEs that want to take part in the projects need to be forward-thinking and arm themselves with information.
“These jobs won’t knock on people’s doors, you have to prepare for this in advance,” he said.
RAAF Base Tindal is first in line for the construction projects in 2017. Work on the base will be run by Lendlease, with a value of $450 million.
Also set for Lendlease’s 2017 calendar is the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Capability Facilities Project at the Delamere Air Weapons Range, at a cost of $348.6 million.
One of the biggest projects set for 2018 is the infrastructure development and upgrades to the existing facilities at Army’s Larrakeyah Barracks and Navy’s HMAS Coonawarra. The estimated costs are set at $500 million and the construction will be run by Laing O’Rourke.