Work starts on key naval base upgrade

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Minister for Defence Marise Payne meets construction contractors at the sod-turning ceremony last Friday.
Camera IconMinister for Defence Marise Payne meets construction contractors at the sod-turning ceremony last Friday. Credit: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko

HMAS Stirling naval base celebrated a key moment in its history last Friday, with the first sod turned on a $367 million redevelopment.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne was joined by HMAS Stirling commanding officer Captain Brian Delamont and WA Senator Slade Brockman at the sod-turning ceremony.

Home to the Royal Australian Navy’s primary operational support base on the west coast, HMAS Stirling has been a fixture in the Rockingham area for nearly 40 years.

The Department of Defence has engaged Doric as managing contractor to plan and design the multimillion-dollar redevelopment, with a number of local WA business, including Duratech and WA Limestone, subcontracted for parts of the project.

Ms Payne said the Government was undertaking the largest recapitalisation of the RAN since World War II.

“HMAS Stirling is one of Australia’s most important naval bases and this investment will modernise essential infrastructure such as the wharves, power, water and security systems,’’ she said.

“As set out in the Turnbull Government’s 2016 Defence White Paper, the Indian Ocean is of strategic importance to our nation with vital trade and energy routes, and this upgrade will ensure that we have a strategic naval presence in this important maritime domain for decades to come.”

Capt. Delamont said the infrastructure redevelopments would be vital to operations on the base.

“Roads, electrical power, security and computer networks may not be as eye-catching as a warship or a submarine, but they are critical enablers to the fleet,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed by March 2020, with the upgrades to meet requirements until at least 2030.

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