Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence the Hon Darren Chester MP attended a celebration at Whyalla today to mark the expansion of the Cultana Training Area.
Mr Chester was joined by South Australia’s Minister for Defence Industries, Martin Hamilton-Smith, as well as representatives from the Barngarla people. Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey MP, Mayor of Whyalla Councillor Jim Pollock and Mayor of Port August Councillor Sam Johnson also attended the event.
The South Australian Government has granted Defence a Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes over the Cultana Expansion Area, which expands the Cultana Training Area from 50,000 hectares to 209,000 hectares.
“The expansion of the Cultana Training Area will provide the service men and women of the Australian Defence Force with vital resources and facilities to enable them to train and prepare for their critical roles in the defence of Australia and its national interests,” Mr Chester said.
“Today’s ceremony is the culmination of many years of complex work, and the final result will be of enormous benefit to the ADF.”
An essential element of the expansion is the Indigenous Land Use Agreement, between Defence, the State of South Australia and the Barngarla people.
“I would like to thank the South Australian Government, the Barngarla people, and the communities of Whyalla and Port Augusta for their support in making the expansion of Cultana a reality,” Mr Chester said.
Defence will commence infrastructure development of Cultana in 2015 and is hopeful that community and industry from Whyalla and Port Augusta will be involved in the development. Over the next three years it is expected that the Cultana Redevelopment Project will see approximately $82.3 million invested in the region.
Robert Curtin (Darren Chester's Office) 0477 397 878
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999