New Simulation Centre boosts warfighting capability - and Townsville economy

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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4 February 2021

The close combat warfighting capability of the Australian Army has been strengthened by a $31 million Morrison Government investment in the delivery of a new, three-storey Armoured Vehicle Simulation Centre in Townsville.

Townsville region businesses are set to play a major role in delivering the state-of-the-art facility, which is due to start this month and be finished in mid-2022.

Its construction workforce is expected to peak at about 110 people per day.

The facility will support the training of 3rd Brigade soldiers at Lavarack Barracks for the upgraded M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and incoming LAND 400 and LAND 8160 armoured vehicle capabilities.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price today announced St Hilliers had been awarded the head contract to deliver the $31 million package as part of the $235 million Armoured Fighting Vehicle Facilities Program Stage 1 works.

“The construction at Townsville will benefit the North Queensland economy by providing local businesses and subcontractors the opportunity to be involved on the project,” Minister Price said.

“St Hilliers has pledged to source 98 per cent of the workforce from the local area, which is an excellent result for the local economy.

“The LAND 400 Phase 2 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles and the Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles will represent a generational leap in the Australian Army’s warfighting capability.  

“Together with the upgraded M1 tank and its armoured engineering variants, these vehicles will deliver a world-class close combat capability for Australia.

“These new vehicles will employ networked, high-fidelity training simulators in new, future ready training centres.”

The contract also includes a high voltage substation and preparatory works for subsequent stages of the program.

Other Stage 1 works, including those at Puckapunyal Military Area, Victoria, and Edinburgh Defence Precinct, South Australia, will be delivered under separate contracts.

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the project would not only be a valuable asset for training available to Defence members at Lavarack Barracks, but would also be a significant boost to the local economy.

“At the peak of the construction we are going to have 110 local people on site,” Mr Thompson said.

“That’s a lot of local jobs being supported, so I would encourage any businesses who could contribute to this project to put their hands up.”

Townsville-based Senator Susan McDonald said she knew of many North Queensland businesses that had the expertise and capability to contribute to this project.

“The Morrison Government has shown once again that it is committed to delivering the benefits of our investment in defence capability to regional communities here in North Queensland,” Senator McDonald said.

Further information on the vehicle facilities program can be found at or

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