Key investment in the Northern Territory’s Defence operations was top of mind for the Federal Government again today as Assistant Defence Minister, Michael McCormack, toured the region’s Defence facilities with local MP Natasha Griggs.
Mr McCormack met with personnel from HMAS Coonawarra, Headquarters North West Regional Force and Headquarters Northern Command based at Larrakeyah Barracks, Darwin, where he praised the region’s distinctive role in the recently-released Defence White Paper.
“At Coonawarra and Larrakeyah Barracks, almost $1.2 billion will be invested in infrastructure upgrades in the decade to 2025-26, with an additional investment of around $2.1 billion towards future long?term facilities requirements in the decade between 2025 and 2036,” Mr McCormack said.
Solomon MP Natasha Griggs said this investment highlights the Government’s focus on creating jobs and training opportunities in northern Australia.
“This is a massive investment in the Territory’s future and will create the jobs and opportunities our region needs to grow and prosper into the future,” Ms Griggs said.
“The Coalition Government is committed to implementing the Defence White Paper’s recommendations and to deliver the infrastructure and jobs proposed for Darwin and Palmerston.”
Northern Command is unique as a joint headquarters, with members from all three services, supported by Defence civilians. It is also the command responsible for supporting the US Marine Rotational Force – Darwin.
“Some 1,250 US Marines are now on the ground in the top-end for the dry season, and they are looking forward to a challenging six months of training and exercises with the Australian Defence Force,” Mr McCormack said.
“In addition to its core role, the North West Regional Force routinely undertakes key community engagement and indigenous capacity building activities, including the delivery of the Army Indigenous Development Program Northern Territory.”
Coonawarra is currently home to a dozen Armidale class patrol boats and provides support to Navy’s fleet and operations in Northern Australia.
Twelve new Australian-built offshore patrol vessels will begin entering service from the early 2020s, replacing the 13 Armidale Class patrol boats currently in service. Some of the offshore patrol vessels will be home-ported in Darwin, and Coonawarra will be further upgraded to support their introduction.
Further information on the Defence White Paper is available here: http://www.defence.gov.au/WhitePaper/
For Mr McCormack: Ruby Cameron 0455 091 557
For Ms Griggs: Alex Beattie (08) 8928 0180