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HMAS Cairns to receive $155m upgrade

The federal government is undertaking a $155 million upgrade to HMAS Cairns as part of the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-program, in line with the 2020 Force Structure Plan.

The federal government is undertaking a $155 million upgrade to HMAS Cairns as part of the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-program, in line with the 2020 Force Structure Plan.

The federal government confirmed this week that it will be upgrading the facilities at HMAS Cairns as part of a $155 million package to support the Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels.


It is expected that Watpac Construction will oversee the government’s NCIS-8A HMAS Cairns Building and Maritime Works program. In accordance with defence policies, Watpac will execute a Local Industry Capability Plan with 80 per cent of subcontractors coming from the local region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined that the package falls in line with the 2020 Force Structure Plan, with the government committing $270 billion to achieve critical defence capabilities.

“The upgrades at HMAS Cairns will create local jobs both during the construction phase and afterwards through ongoing sustainment,” the PM said.

“More jobs will be created through the supply chain and in off-site manufacturing. This investment will be a significant boost to the local Cairns economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The package forms part of the government’s $2.1 billion Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-program, with investment supporting the upgrade to naval facilities across the nation, according to the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price.


“Works will include demolition of the existing Navy wharf and construction of a new wharf in its place, and an upgrade of the existing explosive ordnance loading buoy in Trinity Inlet,” Minister Price said.

“Landside operational support facilities will include a new office building, upgrades to maintenance and logistics facilities, and new storage facilities.”

It is hoped that the upgrade will be completed by December 2024.

[Related: Young Australians invited to participate in Navy program]

Liam Garman

Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Liam began his career as a speech writer at New South Wales Parliament before working for world leading campaigns and research agencies in Sydney and Auckland. Throughout his career, Liam has managed and executed a range of international media and communications campaigns spanning politics, business, industrial relations and infrastructure. He’s since shifted his attention to researching and writing extensively on geopolitics and defence, specifically in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney and is undertaking a Masters in Strategy and Security from UNSW Canberra.
HMAS Cairns to receive $155m upgrade
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