Australia's maritime defence capability to be strengthened in the north

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The Hon Pat Conroy MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

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4 December 2023

Defence maritime capability and industry jobs will be bolstered in Australia’s Top End with a new contract to deliver a strategically important defence maintenance hub.

NORSTA North Pty Ltd has been awarded the Regional Maintenance Provider contract for a Regional Maintenance Centre, known as RMC North, located in Darwin.

The five-year $150 million contract is expected to create up to 37 direct defence industry jobs. The contract will also support a broader industrial ship repair workforce of approximately 56 people in the region.

The company will coordinate the delivery of maintenance for Navy vessels in the region, supporting Defence’s national approach to sustainment of the Royal Australian Navy fleet.

RMC North is the fourth and final addition to a national network of strategically located sustainment centres and is on track to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2024, initially supporting the sustainment of Navy’s Cape class patrol boats.

A key priority area identified in response to the Defence Strategic Review is improving the ability of the Australian Defence Force to operate from Australia’s northern bases.

RMC North’s establishment will ensure key naval assets are available when and where they are needed. It will enable Navy to operate in Australia’s immediate region to help protect our sea lines of communication and maritime trade and help support Navy’s contribution to security and cooperation in the region.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:

“This Regional Maintenance Provider contract provides the key link between NORSTA North Pty Ltd and the Commonwealth to bolster Defence sovereign capability and industry participation in the Top End.

“This strategically important Regional Maintenance Centre based in Darwin will have positive impacts on the local community and defence industry, creating jobs and increasing economic activity centred around sustainment of our naval fleet.

“Naval forces in Darwin serve as a rapid response capability for addressing security challenges, bolstering humanitarian aid efforts and supporting disaster relief operations, greatly contributing to security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.”

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