Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced a $1.6 billion upgrade for RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory to support Australian and US interoperability in the Indo-Pacific.
The Australian government is investing $1.6 billion to ensure the Australian Defence Force can continue to deliver a potent air combat capability from the Northern Territory, promoting interoperability and enhanced allied capability in conjunction with the US.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government had approved a further $1.1 billion program of works at RAAF Base Tindal, on top of the $495 million already invested in New Air Combat Capability infrastructure.
"Over 300 jobs will be created in the construction phase alone. The investment is part of the $8 billion we are spending over the coming decade on Defence facilities in the Top End, as part of the Defence White Paper and under our Developing Northern Australia initiatives," Prime Minister Morrison said.
Under the redevelopment projects, $737 million will go towards upgrading the airfield including extending the runway, building a new air movements terminal, parking apron and extra fuel storage facilities.
The PM added, "As part of these upgrades, RAAF Base Tindal will be able to deliver enhanced air-to-air refuelling and air support capabilities, ensuring we can support critical ADF operations – everything from air combat missions through to responding to natural disasters both at home and throughout our region."
An additional $437 million will provide critical base infrastructure upgrades, particularly engineering services on the base including power, water and sewage, as well as 108 new live-in units for ADF personnel.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said RAAF Base Tindal is one of Australia's most important Defence bases.
"The 2016 Defence White Paper identified northern Australia as strategically important, both for national defence and as a forward base for regional engagement," Minister Reynolds said.
These points were reinforced by Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price, who added that Defence’s managing contractor will be required to maximise the involvement of local industry from the Katherine region and wider Northern Territory.
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"Hundreds of locals will be employed to deliver these projects, with many more set to benefit from subcontract packages and supply chain work," Minister Price said.
Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is expected to commence from mid-2020, with completion expected by the end of 2027.
The Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Industry will open the recently completed $495 million New Air Combat Capability facility.
The completion of this facility will support the arrival of Australia’s cutting-edge F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at RAAF Base Tindal in the years ahead.
"Under this project, 64 per cent of the total work packages were awarded to Northern Territory businesses, representing some $242 million being injected into the Territory’s economy," Minister Price added.
"These completed works also contributed to local Indigenous employment, with an 8 per cent Indigenous workforce participation rate and three sub-contracts, valued at $27 million, awarded to Indigenous companies.”