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Australia to Enhance Air, Ground Military Infrastructure in North Queensland

The Australian government has announced an investment to modernize critical air and land military infrastructure in North Queensland.

The 35-million Australian dollar ($22.8 million) project will see upgrades on capabilities at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville and the Australian Army Lavarack Barracks.

Canberra wrote that the decision to revamp the sites is part of the country’s Defence Strategic Review outlining national security initiatives to match advanced and future threats.

Sustaining ‘Necessary Upgrades’

From the latest investment, around 16 million Australian dollars ($10.4 million) will be allocated to refurbish the Townsville installation’s Hangar 75, housing critical air force capabilities.

The hangar improvement will be facilitated with a 700-million Australian dollar ($455.8 million) program announced last year to support the army’s upcoming AH-64E Apache helicopter fleet.

Meanwhile, the remaining budget will be used to construct new infrastructure across the Lavarack Barracks, including a new military working dog center, related training yards, obstacle courses, and messing facilities.

Work on both locations has already commenced and is expected to support construction businesses, local trades, and over 600 regional jobs.

Australian Army soldiers from the 3rd Brigade march towards Brigade Headquarters as part of the 3rd Brigade Section Competition presentation at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, Queensland. *** Local Caption *** The 3rd Brigade Section Competition was held at Lavarack Barracks, Mount Stuart Training Area and Tully Training Area, QLD, between 17-19 Oct 2023. The competition involved eight sections from within the Brigade testing themselves over a series of military skills stands. Stands included the obstacle course, marksmanship serials, casualty evacuation medical training, military flotation, section attack, section defence, communications, navigation, obstacle deduction and all arms call for fire with artillery assets.
Soldiers march in Lavarack Barracks. Photo: LCPL Riley Blennerhassett/Australian Department of Defence

“The Defence Strategic Review made clear that in the current strategic circumstances, the Australian Army and Air Force must be optimised to support operations in the north,” Australian Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite stated.

“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring we deliver the necessary upgrades to Australia’s network of northern bases, which is critical to the capacity of our Defence Force to keep Australians safe.”

Modernization in Darwin

This month, Australia announced a separate investment to upgrade the army’s Robertson Barracks and Howard Springs South in Darwin.

The project covers the reconstruction of facilities used for health and fitness, military canine training, and maintenance works.

More than 230 jobs will be created to complete the effort.

“The Defence estate plays a critical role in supporting the operational readiness of the Australian Defence Force, and having a safe and maintained estate is integral to capability and supporting personnel who live, work and train on base,” Thistlethwaite said during the Darwin project’s announcement.

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