An $18 million project to construct a Multi User Barge Ramp Facility in Darwin has been approved by Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester announced today.
Mr Chester said the facilities, at East Arm in the Port of Darwin, would provide the logistic support capability for Royal Australian Navy’s new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ships and other amphibious vessels.
“Darwin is and will remain, strategically vital for enabling ADF maritime operations across Australia’s northern approaches, particularly in relation to Australia’s developing amphibious capability.
“To meet capability requirements over the next 30 years, Defence must have access to facilities which support planned and short notice amphibious loading and unloading operations,” Mr Chester said.
The Multi User Barge Ramp Facility is a joint initiative between the Department of Defence and the Northern Territory Government’s Land Development Corporation which will own the facility.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles welcomed the multi-million dollar investment which would provide the Territory with valuable new marine infrastructure that could be used by local industry.
“The construction of the barge ramp will create up to 50 new jobs for Territorians during construction while there are significant ongoing commercial benefits to industry as local operators look to service the defence, oil and gas, and marine sectors,” Mr Giles said.
Mr Chester said the works would include a hardened barge ramp, a marshalling area located adjacent to the ramp and a roadway to link the barge ramp to an existing staging area.
“These are essential to enable the operation of Navy’s amphibious vessels in the Darwin area,” he said.
Parliament has approved Defence’s $16.1 million contribution to the total estimated construction cost of $18 million. The Land Development Corporation will provide existing land, road access and infrastructure, as part of its contribution to the project.
Federal Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs has said that the investment in the Multi User Barge Facility will bring economic benefits for local industry in the Northern Territory.
"This investment is a win-win for Darwin, cementing another ongoing defence commitment to the area and providing a facility which will benefit civil industrial and maritime operations" said Ms Griggs.
“With the recent White Paper, and the $6 billion committed to infrastructure across Northern Australia, this development is just a taste of things to come.”
Construction is expected to commence in 2015 and be completed by mid 2016.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
Brie Colley (Darren Chester’s Office) (02) 6277 4029
Scott Whitby (Adam Giles' Office) 0438 531 583
Greg Stonham (Natasha Griggs' Office) 0429 432 415