New base to bolster military might
A NEW military base will be built in Northern Australia to strengthen the Army's maritime fighting capabilities as part of a $270 billion investment to beef up the country's defence.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday warned the country to prepare for a more dangerous post-COVID-19 world and an increasingly contested Indo-Pacific region.
Among the $55 billion slated for land forces over the next decade is a commitment to establish a "new base" in Northern Australia to "consolidate all Army watercraft, enhancing amphibious ship loading capacity, and allowing the docking of patrol vessels and minehunters".
Defence declined to say if Darwin was at the top of the list, although Minister Linda Reynolds, in a statement said NT would "play an important role providing the infrastructure and logistics needed for the ADF to operate further towards our northern approaches".
Chief Minister Michael Gunner, pointing to NT's role as a "key contributor" to Australia's security, said "we stand ready to do more".
"The Territory can be and should be Australia's defence capital," he said.
The Federal Government has revealed at least $8 billion will be invested in the NT over the next decade, including redevelopments of Robertson Barracks, Larrakeyah Defence Precinct, including HMAS Coonawarra, Bradshaw Field Training Area and Defence Establishment Berrimah.
The $1.6 billion RAAF Base Tindal upgrade to support KC-30 aircraft operations and the US Enhanced Air Cooperation initiative and the upgrade of ranges and training areas in support of the US Force Posture Initiatives.
Former deputy defence department secretary turned academic Professor Paul Dibb - describing the NT as the "focal military point for the whole of north Australia" - said RAAF Base Tindal, once upgraded, would become the most important military base south of Guam for the US military.
Originally published as New base to be built in Northern Australia to bolster military might