Indigenous construction company Barpa has been awarded a contract by the federal government to undertake infrastructure upgrades at North Sydney’s HMAS Waterhen, as part of a $25.8 million contract.
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The federal government expects that the infrastructure upgrades will support the NSW economy by providing additional opportunities to businesses, with construction expected to begin in late 2021 and be completed by 2023.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price explained that the upgrades are also expected to help support the Navy’s new and upcoming capabilities.
“The construction workforce will average 20 workers per day, with a predicted peak of around 50 workers per day,” Minister Price said.
“Under its Local Industry Capability Plan the project will target local businesses for 85 per cent of all subcontracting work.
“HMAS Waterhen is the Royal Australian Navy’s lead establishment for mine warfare and supports a large workforce of Defence personnel.
“The project will improve critical base infrastructure and ensure HMAS Waterhen continues to be able to provide support to the mine warfare force.
“Barpa will remediate and upgrade the engineering services and working accommodation at HMAS Waterhen.”
According to a statement from the minister, Barpa was selected as part of the Commonwealth government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), which aims to assist Indigenous owned businesses.
At the time of the announcement, Defence confirmed that it had awarded $2 billion of contracts to Indigenous-owned businesses, a large portion of the total $4 billion government contracts earmarked for Indigenous businesses.
In 2020-21 alone, Defence confirmed that it awarded 3,426 contracts to Indigenous businesses, exceeding its target of 676, with at a value of $497 million.