HMAS Watson works to reap local industry benefits

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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Ben Spencer (Minister Price’s office): +61 412 754 310
Charlotte Butler (Minister Price’s office): +61 406 338 521
Defence Media: (02) 6127 1999,

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7 August 2020

Work has started on the $430.5 million HMAS Watson redevelopment, marking a major milestone for a project set to deliver significant benefits and hundreds of jobs for NSW’s defence industry.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the project would ensure HMAS Watson continued to support critical Navy training for up to 1300 students per year.

The projects set to be delivered following today’s sod-turning ceremony include the construction of a new training precinct and new live-in accommodation for 236 trainees.

A new medical clinic will be built, while there will also be much-needed upgrades to the existing water, electrical, and communication services.

“The enhancement of the Royal Australian Navy’s capabilities and expansion of the maritime force outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan underlines the importance of HMAS Watson,” Minister Price said.

“The base is essential to the sustainment of the current and future force, and requires an appropriate investment in its facilities and infrastructure.

“This will generate opportunities for small and medium local businesses and Indigenous companies.

“About 360 construction personnel will be employed at the site when construction reaches its peak.”

Minister Price said the project demonstrated the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising opportunities for local industry involvement.

“Defence’s Managing Contractor, Lendlease Building, is committed to local engagement,” Minister Price said.

“They have targets to award 95 per cent of their sub-contract packages to businesses located within 60 kilometres of HMAS Watson, and to ensure at least 3 per cent of the project’s workforce is Indigenous.”

The works will be staged to ensure Navy training can continue throughout the construction period, and are scheduled for completion by early 2027. 

Defence is engaging with the local community by providing timely and regular updates on work activities, planned construction vehicle movements and potential disruptions through the HMAS Watson Redevelopment public website.

For more information on the project and regular construction activity and traffic management updates, please visit the HMAS Watson Redevelopment public website at

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