Federal Member for Stirling, Vince Connelly MP, today welcomed the Morrison Government’s updated Defence Strategy and ongoing commitment to maximising Australian industry involvement in Defence capability projects, which will create new jobs and investment in Western Australia over the coming decade and beyond.
As detailed in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan released by Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP and Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC today, the Government will invest a record $270 billion in Defence capability and infrastructure over the next decade across Australia.
Critical Australian Defence Force operational bases, maritime, air, land, Special Forces, intelligence, space capabilities, and training facilities are based in Western Australia. Defence’s presence and investment in northern Australia, including in Western Australia, will gradually increase to support a more capable future force and a more active defence posture.
Through this Plan, there will be a $2.5 billion investment over the coming decade into the refresh and redevelopment of Defence facilities in Western Australia including:
- Irwin Barracks, Defence Establishment Harold E Holt, RAAF Base Curtin, RAAF Base Pearce, RAAF Base Learmonth, Campbell Barracks, Yampi Sound Training Area and HMAS Stirling.
Over the decade, Defence investment will include significant redevelopment and expansion of HMAS Stirling in direct support of the Collins Class and Attack Class submarine programs, Hunter Class Frigates, and Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels. Investment will also be made to harden our northern airbases.
Local industry involvement in the delivery of these projects will be maximised through this Government’s Local Industry Capability Plan initiative. This ensures that local suppliers, contractors and tradies have the opportunity to secure more of this work, creating more jobs for local communities in Western Australia.
This investment comes on top of the Government’s significant investment in building and sustaining Australian Defence Force capability in Western Australia.
Over the 12 months to March 2020, Defence has invested around $1.4 billion in Western Australia. Examples of key programs and activities in Western Australia include:
- The sustainment, upgrade, maintenance and support for the ANZAC Class frigates, supporting approximately 205 jobs
- Operation of the C-band radar and space telescope at Exmouth supporting around 215 jobs
- The delivery of fast jet flight training at RAAF Base Pearce supporting over 185 jobs
Significantly, the Morrison Government is already progressing the build of up to 45 naval vessels in Western Australia at the Henderson Maritime Precinct, which over the decade is expected to support around 700 direct jobs in the build phase alone. These include the build of:
- 10 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels
- 6 Cape Class Patrol Boats
- 21 Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boats
- Up to 8 mine hunters and hydrographic survey vessels
Today, Western Australia is home to around 7,800 Defence personnel, including ADF permanent and reserve members and Australian Public Service employees. This number is forecast to grow over the coming years.
The policies and investment in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan will make the ADF more capable for the wide range of scenarios Australia will face in the future, more agile to rapid changes, and more potent if a situation should call for it.
What is more, much of this investment in Australia’s defence capabilities will go directly to Australian industry, creating jobs and skills. This Government’s investment in defence capability is already benefitting around 15,000 Australian businesses, who support around 70,000 Australian workers. These numbers are set to increase in line with these new opportunities for Australian industry.
This is a comprehensive plan to further build the resilience, agility and capability of the ADF, and create a more secure and safe Australia. The people of Western Australia can have confidence that this Government will ensure that we can defend our nation and protect our interests today and into the future.