Defence: Investing in Regional Growth—2016-17

The Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force makes a significant contribution to the development of regional Australia through the establishment of Defence facilities and by fostering linkages with the communities in which Defence members are based. Defence activities provide considerable indirect support to the regional communities surrounding its facilities. As at 29 February 2016, total overall numbers of Defence personnel in regional centres across Australia was 27,728, which equates to 28 per cent of the total 99,300 Defence personnel.

The Defence footprint is evident through employment, industry, community involvement and services, childcare facilities, housing, cooperation on heritage issues, Indigenous affairs and economic activity. Figure 1 depicts the Defence footprint across Australia.

Figure 1: Location of major defence facilities across Australia

Location of major defence facilities across Australia

click map to view larger

back to top

Current Initiatives

Defence Assistance to the Civil Community

Defence Assistance to the Civil Community is the mechanism by which Defence provides both emergency and non-emergency support to the civilian community.

Where the scale of the emergency or disaster exceeds or exhausts the response capacity and capabilities of a State or Territory, or where resources cannot be mobilised in time, Australian Government assistance may be sought through Emergency Management Australia, including from the Australian Defence Force.

Emergency Defence Assistance to the Civil Community provides support to the civilian community where immediate action is necessary to save human life or alleviate suffering, prevent widespread loss or damage to property or prevent extensive loss of animal life. Most recently, the Australian Defence Force has provided emergency Defence Assistance to the Civil Community to communities in Australia affected by bushfire and cyclones.

Examples of Defence Assistance to the Civil Community include support to state and local services in the event of natural disasters such as the Victorian "Black Saturday" bushfires in 2009 and Cyclone YASI in 2011.

Defence Industry Development

Australia's defence industry plays a vital role in supporting Defence and delivering leading edge technologies and capabilities that are needed to generate and sustain the future force. The 2016 Defence White Paper ensures investment in key enablers and facilities and prepares for acquisition and construction of major capabilities such as future frigates.

A significant proportion of Defence expenditure will be spent in Australia to acquire, construct and sustain Defence capabilities and to maintain Defence facilities across Australia. There will be significant investment in major capital in Defence infrastructure, including air fields, wharves, bases, training areas and other facilities. Defence will need the support of local services to sustain such a large and geographically dispersed asset base.

Examples of Defence maintenance and support locations in regional Australia include:

  • Oakey and Townsville (Queensland), Darwin (Northern Territory) and Nowra (New South Wales) for helicopters;
  • Bandiana and Bendigo (Victoria) and Darwin (Northern Territory) for military fighting vehicles;
  • Lithgow (New South Wales) for weapons manufacture and maintenance;
  • Mulwala (New South Wales) and Benalla (Victoria) for ammunition and explosive ordnance manufacture; and

Darwin (Northern Territory) and Cairns (Queensland) for naval vessels.

The 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement fundamentally resets the Defence-industry relationship. A key initiative of the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement to foster the new Defence-industry partnership is the newly announced Centre for Defence Industry Capability. Funded to around $23 million per year, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability is a close collaboration between the private sector, Defence and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The Centre for Defence Industry Capability will provide Australian small to medium sized companies with a range of services to maximise their competitiveness, build export potential, and facilitate their access to Defence innovation programmes. Through the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, the Government is seeking to grow and develop Australian industry that can support the effective and efficient delivery of Defence capability. To achieve this, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability will have a network of business and skills advisors across Australia who will work closely with the companies and guide the priorities across defence industry. It will be headquartered in Adelaide with services to be provided across the country.

Defence Logistics Transformation Program

The Defence Logistics Transformation Program is a complex initiative that is implementing deep reform across the national Defence logistics network to continue the savings of the Defence Strategic Reform Program. It is achieving an improved logistics service delivery model through new contracts for warehousing and distribution and land materiel maintenance services.

The logistics service delivery model is supported by modern, purpose-built facilities employing efficient best-practice processes, technology and systems. In November 2013, the Australian Government committed $752.7 million to logistics infrastructure to modernise and enhance wholesale storage, distribution and land materiel functions of the Joint Logistics Command units to provide optimum support to Defence operations.

Works have been completed in Moorebank (New South Wales), Wadsworth Barracks, Bandiana (Victoria), RAAF Base Amberley (Queensland); Robertson Barracks (Northern Territory), RAAF Base Edinburgh (South Australia); and Palmer Barracks and HMAS Stirling (Western Australia).

Works at Lavarack Barracks is ongoing. Construction commenced in December 2012 and is scheduled for full completion by mid-2016.

Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program

The Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program will upgrade storage facilities across Australia for all natures of explosive ordnance. This $210.0 million reform programme will upgrade existing storage infrastructure and increase storage capacity across the explosive supply chain network. A focussed upgrade programme will optimise the national explosive storage network and deliver required capacity and operational efficiencies to Defence.

Twelve sites nationally will have infrastructure improvements delivered under the Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Programme. These improvements cover bulk warehousing storage, processing facilities, storage for non-explosive dangerous goods and associated roads and administration facilities, but do not include ports infrastructure remediation such as docks and associated infrastructure. The sites receiving upgrades to their explosive storage facilities are RAAF Amberley and Townsville (Queensland), RAAF Edinburgh (South Australia), Garden Island (Western Australia), RAAF Darwin (Northern Territory), RAAF Williamtown, Myambat—Hunter Valley and Eden (New South Wales), HMAS Cerberus, Mangalore—Seymour and Point Wilson (Victoria), and Fort Direction (Tasmania).

The Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program will commence the detailed design process in early 2016. Subject to all required approvals construction will commence 2018.

Defence Community Organisation Program

The Department of Defence is committed to building the capacity of local communities, urban and regional, to provide support services to enable Defence member families to be resilient and self-reliant.

Defence, through the Defence Community Organisation, delivers community capacity building outcomes through:

  • building strategic partnerships with service delivery organisations at local, state and national levels;
  • a range of online and community based networking events, workshops, programmes and services;
  • working in collaboration with local agencies to develop initiatives to address gaps and limitations in community resources that Defence member families may require; and
  • providing personalised advice and ongoing communication to Defence member families on available community resources and actively linking families to the resources they require.

Defence Community Organisation has offices in the following locations:

  • Queensland—Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba and Cairns;
  • New South Wales—Sydney, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Nowra, Singleton and Albury;
  • Australian Capital Territory—Canberra;
  • Victoria/Tasmania—Melbourne, East Sale, Cerberus, Puckapunyal and Hobart;
  • Northern Territory—Katherine and Darwin;
  • Western Australia—Rockingham; and
  • South Australia–Adelaide.

Australian Defence Force Transition Centres are also located across Australia to assist all separating Australian Defence Force members to access information relevant to their needs as well as with transition administration.

Transition Centres provide support and include practical information seminars, personalised assistance to prepare for transition, referrals, help with administration and support for post-service training and employment. Australian Defence Force members and their families can be linked into support services such as the Australian Defence Force Rehabilitation Program, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, Centrelink and community resources.

The budget allocation for this programme for 2016-17 is $18.114 million.

Defence Force Recruiting Support to Regional Australia

In addition to each of the capital cities, Defence Force Recruiting maintains recruiting centres in some regional centres, including:

  • Newcastle, Wollongong and Albury (New South Wales); and
  • Cairns, Robina (Gold Coast), Maroochydore, Toowoomba and Townsville (Queensland).

Indigenous Engagement

The Department of Defence has extensive engagement with Indigenous communities in remote, urban and regional Australia. In addition to direct entry into Defence employment, the Department of Defence offers pathways programmes for Indigenous Australians seeking a career in Defence as an Australian Defence Force or Australian Public Service member including:

  • The Defence Indigenous Development Program—Navy and Army Indigenous Development programmes are aimed at preparing young Indigenous Australians for entry into the Australian Defence Force. Based in Cairns (Queensland) and Batchelor (Northern Territory), the recruitment for these courses is primarily of Indigenous Australians from remote and regional Australia.
  • Indigenous pre-recruitment courses and development courses are conducted at HMAS Cerberus (New South Wales) and are designed to competitively prepare young Indigenous Australians for employment opportunities in the Australian Defence Force and Defence Australian Public Service.
  • Australian Public Service Indigenous Traineeships, Cadetships and Apprenticeships offer Indigenous Australians entry level Australian Public Service employment. The Department of Defence endeavours to employ Indigenous trainees, cadets and apprentices in their current location, or in close proximity to, where Defence localities and operational requirements allow.
  • The Department of Defence has staff based across many locations including Queenscliff (Victoria), Oakey, Townsville and Cairns (Queensland), and Perth (Western Australia), who work with Indigenous communities throughout the country.
  • The Jawun Program matches individuals skill sets with the needs of an Indigenous community or organisation throughout Australia. Project work is allocated based on this need and is completed over a six week placement working with the Indigenous community or organisation. Defence has been a participant of Jawun since 2012. To date, 51 Defence employees have participated across various locations. Defence recently opened the Jawun Program up to Australian Defence Force members.
  • The North-West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) is based at Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin. Its area of operations covers 1.8 million square kilometres and encompasses the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Australian Aboriginal soldiers form approximately 60 per cent of NORFORCE personnel and are drawn mainly from the areas they patrol to draw on their local knowledge.

These programmes contribute to positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians, predominantly through adult employment. They are aimed at increasing enlistment and participation rates into the Australian Defence Force and the Defence Australian Public Service by assisting Indigenous applicants and candidates transition into full and part-time employment. There is also a recognised benefit to both participants and their home communities that have experienced Defence's Indigenous employment pathways programmes. Participants who return to their community have the skills and knowledge to actively become a leader and role model to others in their community.

Engaging People with Disability

The Defence Administration Assistance Program employs people with disability, through partnerships with community-based Australian Disability Enterprises, to provide Defence personnel with administrative assistance.

Over the next twelve months, Defence will implement the Defence Administrative Assistance Program at the following sites: Fleet Base West, Western Australia; Holsworthy, New South Wales; Victoria Barracks Melbourne, Victoria; RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia; Darwin, Northern Territory; as well Townsville and RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland. The programme has been operating in Canberra for over 20 years and in Enoggera, Queensland since 2014.

The budget allocation for this programme over the next three years is almost $9 million.

Defence Housing Australia

Defence Housing Australia's main function is to provide housing and related services to members of the Australian Defence Force and their families. Defence Housing Australia adds new properties to its portfolio across Australia, including in regional areas, through the renewal of expiring leases, constructions, acquisitions and leasing from private investors or in bulk from property developers.

Defence Housing Australia currently has four development projects in regional areas in Townsville (Queensland), RAAF Base Tindal (Northern Territory), Sale (Victoria) and two projects at Newcastle (New South Wales), valued at approximately $415.0 million. Defence Housing Australia is currently undertaking approximately $45.0 million of upgrade work to Defence Housing Australia houses, employing local contractors in areas such as Kapooka (New South Wales), Alice Springs (Northern Territory), Learmonth (Western Australia) and Katherine (Northern Territory).

Defence Housing Australia's diverse operations provide significant opportunities for small and medium business in regional Australia by engaging with local trade contractors on residential maintenance services. Defence Housing Australia currently employs contractors in regional areas to undertake a range of maintenance work valued at approximately $12.0 million per year.

United States Force Posture Initiatives

The Force Posture Initiatives agreed between the Australian and United States Governments will see ongoing rotations of United States Marine Corps during the six month dry season in northern Australia, as well as enhanced cooperation between the Royal Australian Air Force and United States Air Force. Both the Australian Government and the Government of the United States, will invest in a range of infrastructure and supporting arrangements for implementation and ongoing support of the initiatives. The United States Force Posture Initiatives are expected to provide opportunities to industry, particularly in the Northern Territory.

The agreement governing the implementation of the United States Force Posture Initiatives in Australia provides for costs of infrastructure and implementation to be undertaken on the basis of proportional use/proportional pay.

Defence infrastructure / Capital Facilities Projects

The Australian Government is investing $1.7 billion in the Major Capital Facilities programme in 2016-17. Capital Facilities Projects are identified by electorate in the Defence Portfolio Budget Statements Appendix. Major Capital Facilities projects in regional locations include the following.

Enhanced Land Force Facilities Stage 2

The Australian Government is investing $1.458 billion in facilities to support Enhanced Land Force Stage 2.

Stage 2 of the project will provide modern purpose-built facilities and supporting infrastructure for the Army's 8th/9th Battalion and supporting elements of the 7th Brigade. The project will involve the construction of new and refurbished accommodation and training facilities, as well as common use facilities and site infrastructure upgrades, at Defence sites across four States and the Australian Capital Territory.

Construction of facilities and supporting infrastructure at Majura and Duntroon (Australian Capital Territory), Lavarack Barracks, Amberley, Gallipoli Barracks (Queensland), Sydney and Singleton (New South Wales) and Puckapunyal (Victoria) are complete.

All remaining works, including facilities and supporting infrastructure at Cultana Training Area (South Australia), are scheduled for progressive completion by early 2017.

AIR 7000 Maritime Patrol Aircraft Phase 2B

The Australian Government is investing $707.9 million to provide new and upgraded facilities and infrastructure to support the introduction of the P-8A aircraft at RAAF Base Edinburgh, RAAF Base Townsville, RAAF Base Pearce and RAAF Base Darwin. Construction is planned to commence in mid-2016 and be completed by mid-2020.

AIR 6000 New Air Combat Capability

The Australian Government is investing $1.477 billion to provide new and upgraded facilities and infrastructure to support the introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter at RAAF Bases Williamtown (New South Wales) and Tindal (Northern Territory). Support facilities and infrastructure will be provided at Defence Establishment Myambat (New South Wales) and at seven forward operating bases throughout Australia. Construction commenced in early 2015 and is scheduled for completion by late 2022.

AIR 9000 Phase 5C (CH-47F Chinook) Replacement Chinook Facilities Project

The Australian Government is investing $54.8 million in facilities at RAAF Base Townsville (Queensland). This project will provide new and upgraded facilities to support the introduction and sustainment of the new CH-47F Model Chinook Medium Lift Helicopters and associated integration systems.

Construction is completed on temporary facilities and Stage 1 of the C Squadron facilities and has commenced on the Aircraft Simulation facilities and western annex office accommodation. Construction commenced in November 2014 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2017.

Facilities for the MH-60R Seahawk Maritime Combat Helicopters

The Australian Government is investing $189.0 million to provide new and upgraded facilities for operational maritime helicopter squadrons at HMAS Stirling (Western Australia) HMAS Albatross and Twofold Bay (New South Wales).

The project aims to provide new and upgraded facilities to support the new maritime helicopter operations. The works include the provision of facilities for explosive ordnance storage, aircraft hangars, aircraft workshops, synthetic training, and working accommodation. Construction commenced in late 2013 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2017.

HMAS Albatross Redevelopment

The Australian Government is investing $192.0 million to replace ageing and obsolete facilities and engineering services and infrastructure at HMAS Albatross (New South Wales). This project will provide a combination of new and refurbished facilities to support operational and training outcomes as well as enabling functions. Construction commenced in late 2014 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2017.

RAAF Base Williamtown Redevelopment

The Australian Government is investing $274.0 million to sustain and improve the functionality and capability of RAAF Base Williamtown (New South Wales), including upgrades or replacement of critical ageing infrastructure to meet future requirements. Construction is scheduled to commence in mid-2016 and be completed by mid-2021.

17th Construction Squadron Relocation Infrastructure Project

The Australian Government is investing $71.8 million to provide facilities to collocate the 17th Construction Squadron with the 6th Engineer Support Regiment and the 21st Construction Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley (Queensland). Construction commenced in late 2015 and is scheduled for completion by late 2016.

AIR 8000 Battlefield Airlifter Facilities Project Phase 2

The Australian Government is investing $370.4 million to provide facilities at RAAF Base Amberley (Queensland) to accommodate and support the operation of the new C-27J Battlefield Airlifter aircraft. Construction is scheduled to commence in mid 2016 and is scheduled for completion by early 2019.

AIR 5349 Phase 3 Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability Facilities Project

The Australian Government is investing $348.6 million to provide working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities at RAAF Base Amberley, Army Aviation Centre Oakey (Queensland) and Delamere Air Weapons Range (Northern Territory) to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability. Construction is scheduled to commence in mid 2016 and be completed in 2021.

Delamere Air Weapons Range Redevelopment

The Australian Government is investing $74.4 million to redevelop key range facilities and infrastructure to enable the continued use of the Delamere Air Weapons Range (Northern Territory) including the new Growler Mobile Threat Training Emitter Systems capability. Construction is scheduled to commence in mid 2016 and be completed by mid 2018.

Air Traffic Control Complex Infrastructure Project and AIR5431 Phases 2 and 3 Fixed Base Defence Air Traffic Management and Control System

The Australian Government is investing $409.9 million to provide facilities in support of replacement Air Traffic Management Surveillance, Command and Control Systems under AIR5431 Phases 2 and 3, including the replacement of aged and degraded Air Traffic Control Towers. Construction is planned to be completed by late 2021.

Base Services Contracts

The Department of Defence has entered into base services contracts that support the management of the Defence estate and the daily activities of Defence bases across Australia. Where services are delivered to Defence bases located in regional and remote areas, the base services contractors generally draw their workforce from local employment areas as well as accessing local business suppliers. The services include estate maintenance, hospitality and catering, range and training area support, living accommodation, transport, cleaning and access control services.

The base services contractors are required to demonstrate a commitment to Indigenous employment, including through the use of Indigenous business suppliers. Base services contractors must have a current Indigenous Training, Employment and Supplier Plan.

back to top

Prev. Index Next