Defence boost for north
The defence presence in the North West has received a boost with the the Federal Government announcing an upgrade of air force and communications capabilities.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull highlighted $29.9 billion in funding over the next decade to deliver strategies and plans set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper.
Among the announcements was a $190 million upgrade to RAAF Base Learmonth to support new strike and air combat capabilities, including the new F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and KC-30A air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
A further $200 million has also been mooted for Learmonth from 2025 to 2035.
The Harold E. Holt Communications Facility will also be upgraded to support enhanced space situational awareness and communications capabilities, involving about $200 million in planned investment out to 2025-26, and an additional estimated $30 million by 2035-36.
Durack MHR Melissa Price said the release of the 2016 Defence White Paper set out the Turnbull Government’s comprehensive and responsible long-term plan to ensure Australia’s national security.
“The investments outlined in the Turnbull Government’s 2016 Defence White Paper will strengthen our defence force and provide a welcome boost to the economy of Durack,” she said.
“Defence is already a major employer in Durack with around 300 defence personnel based here, which has significant flow-on effects for the local economy.
“The Turnbull Government will continue to deliver on its most important task — defending our na- tion and protecting and promoting our national interests.’’
The Yampi Sound Training Area is planned to undergo a $60 million redevelopment too, with a further planned refurbishment costing about $20 million in the decade between 2025-26 and 2035-36.
Mr Turnbull said the 10-year Integrated Investment Program brought together all capability-related investment including new weapons, platforms, infrastructure and science and technology.
The Australian Defence Force declined to comment.