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WA government announces $330m investment to drive defence industry opportunities

WA government announces $330m investment to drive defence industry opportunities

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia CSC have announced a $330 million investment into major infrastructure and planning for big industry projects across WA – with defence industry a core focus. 

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia CSC have announced a $330 million investment into major infrastructure and planning for big industry projects across WA – with defence industry a core focus. 

The Western Australian government is investing $330 million into major infrastructure and planning for big industry projects across Western Australia to prepare for the state’s future, create jobs and boost the economy as part of the WA Recovery Plan.


Investments in defence, port and harbour infrastructure, and serviced land to help establish new business and research facilities will deliver a pipeline of jobs for Western Australia. This will further support WA’s strong commitment to defence industry development and leverage its world-class skills and training. 

Premier Mark McGowan and Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia announced that Henderson’s Australian Marine Complex (AMC), the state’s major industrial hub, is set for an $87.6 million upgrade.

It is expected that the upgrade will create up to 600 local jobs, boost opportunities for local industry and grow WA’s capacity to undertake future defence work as part of the WA Recovery Plan. 


The investment includes a major wharf extension and upgrade, the design of a new finger wharf, a new vessel transfer path, three road intersection upgrades and a new shipbuilding hall. 

The extension to AMC Berth 1 will create a new berth and enable the facility to accommodate all Royal Australian Navy vessels, including Anzac Class frigates, Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels and the future Hunter Class frigates.

Mr McGowan said, “Our investment in improvement works and our state’s infrastructure will boost a range of industries over the short and longer terms, which is a key part of our recovery journey.

“Importantly, the infrastructure and planning upgrades will pave the way for further growth in commercial and industrial precincts, our defence, manufacturing, resources, exports and marine sectors,” he added. 

Western Australian ports and harbours will benefit from $158.8 million worth of improvements, including:

  • $20 million for Port Hedland’s Inner Harbour for retaining and sea walls;
  • $51.2 million for Pilbara’s Nelson Point Tug Haven for retaining and sheet pile walls;
  • $7.6 million to support the development of an LNG bunkering hub in the Pilbara, already announced;
  • $11.6 million towards works at the Geraldton Port and Fishing Boat Harbour to improve amenities and access as well as support export capability in the Main Harbour, already announced;
  • $31.3 million to resurface and upgrade the stockyard area, for structural repairs, electrical upgrades and a new Clinker Storage Facility at the Kwinana Bulk Terminal;
  • $3 million towards a second road hopper to improve loading and logistics, and for fire and safety system upgrades and replacements at Bunbury Port;
  • $3 million towards refurbishments to the underdeck access and protective coating to extensions at the Broome Port Wharf;
  • $15 million for the Turkey Point access bridge at Bunbury Port, already announced;
  • $10.2 million towards priority works at Esperance Port to increase import and export capacity; and
  • $5.9 million to replace critical electrical infrastructure at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and Commercial precinct.

In addition to works being undertaken across WA ports, $3.8 million is being committed to prepare a feasibility study for upgrades and new infrastructure at the Port of Bunbury and Kwinana Bulk Terminal to support the possible reopening of the Greenbushes rail line.

Mr Papalia added, “Defence industry projects offer incredible opportunities for the state, and these investments in the AMC will further strengthen our capacity to secure high-value, job-creating work.”

Additionally, about $100 million of funding will go towards further industry development initiatives, including:

  • $20 million towards a Robotics and Automation physical test facility, as part of a 94-hectare precinct north of the current Neerabup industrial estate, to support research facilities;
  • $7.5 million to provide serviced land for businesses, supporting major projects in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area;
  • $7.5 million to prepare and refurbish communications infrastructure networks within Bentley Technology Park;
  • $8.4 million towards the implementation of the Murujuga Rock Arts strategy to progress more opportunities to unlock tourism potential and create jobs; and
  • $1 million to upgrade the Newman Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Defence contracts will provide the kind of long-term stimulus the state will need to support our economy as we manage the impacts of COVID-19. The state government is fast-tracking these projects to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of Defence, and continue to enhance the AMC’s reputation as Australia’s key defence industry hub,” Minister Papalia said. 

The investment further demonstrates WA’s commitment to securing more Federal Defence work, such as Collins Class submarine Full Cycle Docking and further opportunities. 

Significant investment in WA ports will help drive ongoing trade through regional WA and will support growth through the state, creating jobs and stimulating the economy. 

The McGowan government’s investment is expected to complement and encourage private investment across regional WA by increasing import and export capacity.

WA government announces $330m investment to drive defence industry opportunities
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