Minister for Materiel and Science - Sod Turning Ceremony - 17th Construction Squadron Relocation

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The Hon Mal Brough MP

Minister for Defence Materiel and Science

Special Minister of State in the Australian Government

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14 December 2015

Opening Remarks

Sod Turning Ceremony - 17th Construction Squadron Relocation

 RAAF Base Amberley

10 December 2015

Well thanks very much everybody. It’s an honour to be here today and back at Amberley for the second time in under a month.

To Group Captain Kimber and Group Captain Browning, thank you very much. And thank you to Colonel Smith for coming up from Canberra today – it’s good that you are here today, along with our engineering partners.

Let me just say something about families. There are two other families that are going to find Amberley their home. And I think that just adds to the body of what is a wonderful community in Ipswich, who do really embrace the Defence Force.

And of course most people, including myself who used to represent this area, or just outside of it, just to the west of it, not the base, but everywhere around it. It was always just seen as a RAAF base. But now it is a military base, and as such 17th Construction will add to that rich tapestry of, no doubt, competition amongst the various units as they compete – and I can see the wry smiles – and I couldn’t help and think, being engineers, being in temporary accommodation for decades would mean nothing to them, because after all they would take great pride in being able to turn something out of nothing. And so here, when they get here, they will probably be wanting to make changes from day one, and to do it even better.

But I’m sure that Watpac and Oricon, etcetera will do the sort of job that they are renowned to do, as well. And I thank you, well firstly congratulate you on winning the contracts, and it will no doubt be good work to come.

And as Group Captain Kimber said, a billion dollars rolls off the tongue pretty damn easily. But that’s 1,000 million dollars worth of construction which is civil works – it means a heck of a lot to this local community here where it’s going to be undertaken over just five years. This really is the start of it - $71 million. And so beyond what it’s going to do to our military capacity, beyond what it’s going to do to 17th Construction, it’s going to do a lot for the region, and it continues to cement this region as one of our most important military assets in the country. So the Growler aircraft, obviously the C-17s, some incredible facilities on base that are looking after both Army and Air Force hardware – there is the complete package.

So I want to wish you all well with the construction and to please pass on my best wishes to all in 17th Construction. I am sure they will be glad to get out of Western Sydney and into western – in fact this isn’t western Brisbane, because we’ve learnt that western Brisbane is just the other side of the range at the new airport – whatever they’re calling that now, is it Brisbane west? And the really good news is that they’re only one hour and twenty minutes from the Sunshine Coast. So make sure you pass it on to the families – it’s not far to come and to get work in the morning. I’m only kidding. But on a weekend… [Laughter]

So congratulations to everyone. On behalf of the Government I want you to know that I realise that this has been a project that has been delayed because previous Government’s haven’t maintained the expenditure that is required. We are committed to two per cent of GDP into the future. The White Paper will reflect our commitment to the security of the nation, in the New Year. And today 17th Construction Squadron, when they see this in the Army Newspaper, will finally believe that reality is here.

Congratulations to you all.


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