Puckapunyal opens health centre and accommodation

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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17 May 2023

The Albanese Government is committed to decisions which will see the best outcomes for the Australian Defence Force and our national security.

As we outlined in the recent federal budget, defence spending is growing over the medium term in line with Australia's strategic circumstances.

Defence investments offer huge opportunities all around the country. This sees the creation of new, highly-skilled, long-term jobs for Australian workers as well as support for small and medium businesses to expand and grow.

I was delighted to open two new facilities at Puckapunyal Military Base on Monday.

The first, a new health and wellbeing facility, is a $40 million investment in supporting our soldiers to be healthy in body and mind, to be ready for whatever challenges the future holds.

It's open to families of defence members living on the base, who I am sure will put them to good use.

It's a great way for us to support the families who support ADF to serve our country.

About 97 per cent of the subcontract packages awarded to build the health and wellbeing facility were given to local businesses, in alignment with Defence's Local Industry Capability Plan.

That's a great result. Australia would grind to a halt without our tradies, and by investing in them we've invested in the future of trades in regional Victoria and in growing the local economy.

 The workers have done a terrific job constructing this facility, building the outdoor training area, athletics track and associated infrastructure.

There is no question: the character of warfare is changing, the strategic environment is changing.

The Albanese Government's Defence Strategic Review in response set the agenda for ambitious, but necessary, reform to Defence's posture and structure.

Our response sets out our blueprint for Australia's strategic policy, defence planning and resourcing over the coming decades.

What is unchanged - and eternal - is the need for the army to be ready.

The Australian Army is its people: people united in a common purpose; professionals who are committed, who you can trust with your life.

Australia needs our soldiers to be physically and mentally tough, compassionate and courageous.

And the government is very mindful of our responsibility to invest in ADF personnel, to ensure they can meet their full potential, to be fit to fight and fit for life.

I'm also proud to be opening a new living-in accommodation facility for our trainees.

It's a $30 million investment in modern accommodation for trainees, with space to study, rest and socialise.

The facility is also an investment in our shared environmental future, because it has been built to minimise the environmental cost of the project.

It will help Defence meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, with solar panels to provide renewable energy, high performance insulation and glazing and a heat pump system for energy efficiency and effective management of stormwater.

And while trees were cleared, they were fully offset and replaced with plants that will create habitat for the endangered swift parrot.

On both facilities, Defence contractors tapped the expertise and commitment in our indigenous-owned businesses to deliver great outcomes.

It demonstrates the very strong commitment from both the government and the department to ensure works on and for the Defence estate deliver on the full potential of Defence's Indigenous Procurement Policy.

It's great to see the iconic Puckapunyal Military Base getting even better, with works that deliver for both the ADF and the community it serves.

This opinion piece was first published in the Seymour Telegraph on Wednesday, 17 May 2023.

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