Work starts on key naval base up­grade

Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Ai­den Boy­ham

HMAS Stir­ling naval base cel­e­brated a key mo­ment in its his­tory last Fri­day, with the first sod turned on a $367 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment.

Min­is­ter for De­fence Marise Payne was joined by HMAS Stir­ling com­mand­ing of­fi­cer Cap­tain Brian De­la­m­ont and WA Sen­a­tor Slade Brock­man at the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony.

Home to the Royal Aus­tralian Navy’s pri­mary op­er­a­tional sup­port base on the west coast, HMAS Stir­ling has been a fix­ture in the Rock­ing­ham area for nearly 40 years.

The Depart­ment of De­fence has en­gaged Doric as man­ag­ing con­trac­tor to plan and de­sign the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar re­de­vel­op­ment, with a num­ber of lo­cal WA busi­ness, in­clud­ing Du­rat­ech and WA Lime­stone, sub­con­tracted for parts of the project.

Ms Payne said the Gov­ern­ment was un­der­tak­ing the largest re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of the RAN since World War II.

“HMAS Stir­ling is one of Aus­tralia’s most im­por­tant naval bases and this in­vest­ment will mod­ernise es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture such as the wharves, power, wa­ter and se­cu­rity sys­tems,’’ she said.

“As set out in the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment’s 2016 De­fence White Pa­per, the In­dian Ocean is of stra- te­gic im­por­tance to our na­tion with vi­tal trade and en­ergy routes, and this up­grade will en­sure that we have a strate­gic naval pres­ence in this im­por­tant mar­itime do­main for decades to come.”

Capt. De­la­m­ont said the in­fra­struc­ture re­de­vel­op­ments would be vi­tal to op­er­a­tions on the base.

“Roads, elec­tri­cal power, se­cu­rity and com­puter net­works may not be as eye-catch­ing as a war­ship or a sub­ma­rine, but they are crit­i­cal en­ablers to the fleet,” he said.

The project is ex­pected to be com­pleted by March 2020, with the up­grades to meet re­quire­ments un­til at least 2030.

Pic­ture: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko

Min­is­ter for De­fence Marise Payne meets con­struc­tion con­trac­tors at the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony last Fri­day.

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