De­fence boost for north

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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