Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced that the $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure investment at RAAF Base Tindal has commenced to better support defence operations in the region.
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The package is part of this government’s $8 billion in planned spending on Northern Territory Defence facilities under Developing Northern Australia initiatives.
As part of Australian commitments under the US Force Posture Initiatives, the $737 million RAAF Tindal Airfield Works and Associated Infrastructure project will upgrade the airfield, increase aviation fuel storage, re-invest in ageing base engineering services and provide additional living-in accommodation for posted Air Force personnel.
Turning the sod at the site in Katherine, Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said RAAF Base Tindal is vital to northern Australia’s air combat capability and support to our allies.
"Over the next decade, the planned works will further enhance Defence air combat capability and our engagement with allies and other nations through the conduct of joint exercises, including our Enhanced Air Cooperation with the United States Air Force," Minister Reynolds said.
Minister Reynolds added, "A concurrent $437 million RAAF Base Tindal redevelopment project will also address critical upgrades to base engineering services including power, water and sewerage to support current and future projected demands on base infrastructure."
Component 1 of the scheduled infrastructure upgrades, aims to maintain the existing capability at RAAF Base Tindal by addressing functional deficiencies and capacity constraints in existing facilities and infrastructure, and to support growth in demand from the increasing operational tempo.
Component 1 also aims to address the risks associated with non-compliant facilities and to reduce ongoing operating costs by replacing under-utilised or redundant facilities.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said it’s now more important than ever to back Australian businesses and create more Australian jobs.
"Local businesses, suppliers and Indigenous companies will benefit from this package of works with a target of 70 per cent local participation rate," Minister Price said.
Component 2 aims to increase the capacity of RAAF Base Tindal to support KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport operations, which are a key part of the core air power role of air mobility, in particular air-to-air refuelling and air logistics support missions.
In addition to this, component 2 also aims to support the US Force Posture Initiatives by improving accessibility to the RAAF Base Tindal for USAF aircraft. The US Force Posture Initiatives is an element of the Force Posture Agreement between the Australian and US governments.
During recent works, managing contractor Lendlease initiated an expo to allow Katherine students to sample trades and speak directly with trade apprentices, trainers, local employers and industry representatives.
"Initiatives like these enable us to build the skills and expertise required to support future Defence capability," Minister Reynolds said.
Construction is expected to conclude in 2027.