Defence plan delivers for regional Queensland

Posted February 26, 2016

Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army personnel conduct load transfer trials between a C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter aircraft and an Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at RAAF Base Townsville, Queensland, on 11 November 2015. *** Local Caption *** Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army personnel conducted loading trials and training at RAAF Base Townsville from 10-14 November 2015, utilising the new C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter aircraft operated by No 35 Squadron. Engineers and aircrew from Air Movements Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) oversaw the trials, which involved the loading of Army personnel from Townsville's 3rd Brigade in different configurations. Air Force air movements personnel also conducted load transfer trials between a Spartan and a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Army's 5th Aviation Regiment. These trials demonstrated the ability of the Spartan to bridge the battlefield airlift gap between Army's rotary-wing fleet and larger RAAF transports.

Regional Queensland is set to benefit from a raft of investment projects outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper released this week.

The Federal Government proposes to increase Defence spending by $29.9 billion over the next decade to deliver the strategies and plans set out in the document.

Proposed investment for the Townsville region includes:

  • - Upgrades at Lavarack Barracks to support new and upgraded land combat and amphibious warfare capabilities, representing an investment over the next decade of about $50 million. (An additional $550 million planned from 2025/26 out to 2035/36).
  • - Updating facilities at RAAF Base Townsville over the next 10 years with an additional $100 million investment to support the introduction of the F‑35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. (An additional $500 million planned from 2025/26 to 2035/36).
  • - Redeveloping the Townsville Field Training Area with an investment of about $20 million in the decade to 2025-26. (Further investment of about $110 million between 2025-26 and 2035-36).

Member for Herbert Ewen Jones said he would be looking to convene a roundtable with relevant local stakeholders to discuss how the city could leverage the opportunities presented in the Defence White Paper.

Proposed investment for the Cairns region includes:

  • - Development of additional wharf space and other support facilities, including for Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) to be based in Cairns. These improvements represent an investment in HMAS Cairns of about $120 million in the decade to 2025/26. (A further $300 million planned in the decade between 2025/26 and 2035/36).
  • - New infrastructure at RAAF Base Scherger (Weipa) to support the introduction of the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter with an investment of about $20 million in the decade to 2025/26. (About $110 million planned in the decade between 2025/26 and 2035/36).

Proposed investment for the Rockhampton-Livingstone region includes:

  • - Upgrading Shoalwater Bay Training Area to support the range of new land combat and amphibious warfare capabilities over the decade to 2025/26, representing an investment of up to $150 million. (An additional investment of around $40 million is planned for the decade between 2025/26 and 2035/36).

Proposed investment for the Darling Downs region includes: 

  •  - Upgrading the Army Aviation Training Centre facilities at Swartz Barracks in Oakey over the decade to 2025/26 to support the new CH-47F Chinook and MRH-90 troop lift helicopter capabilities, and to support other training programs. This represents an investment of about $30 million in the decade to 2025/26. (An additional $300 million planned between 2025/26 and 2035/36).
  •  - Upgrading facilities at Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah to support land force capability. This represents an investment of around $100 million in the decade to 2025/26. (An additional $30 million between 2025/26 and 2035/36).

The 2016 Defence White Paper, Integrated Investment Program and Defence Industry Policy Statement are available at www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper

 

 

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