Defence will enhance the Australian Defence Force’s Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) capability with a $25 million facilities program for the testing, evaluation, training and sustainment of Force Protection Electronic Countermeasures equipment.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester MP said the facilities project would significantly improve counter IED capabilities and meet Defence capability requirements to 2050.
“Improvised Explosive Devices remain a key threat to the safety of our Australian Defence Force personnel operating in areas of conflict,” Mr Chester said.
“The facilities delivered under this project will enable the Defence Force to maintain technologically advanced counter IED equipment, which will ensure our soldiers have the highest level of force protection when on operations.
“The ADF has been working to counter IEDs for many years and our personnel are among the best in the world at managing this threat.”
The facilities and infrastructure works have been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
Due to the importance of these facilities, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works has agreed for works to be started at a number of sites around the country. Works at Edinburgh in South Australia, Watsonia in Victoria and Moorebank in NSW have already been completed and work at other sites is ongoing.
“The main element of the project is a specialised test and evaluation facility at Nurrungar, South Australia,” Mr Chester said.
“Defence has worked closely with local Indigenous stakeholders to ensure the work will not adversely impact culturally sensitive sites.
“Contracts for the facilities and infrastructure works will be tendered to the open market in due course and the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Opportunities policy will apply.
“This capital investment will bring economic benefits for industry in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland over the next 18 months.”
Subject to Parliamentary approval, construction at Nurrungar is scheduled to commence in mid 2015 and is expected to be completed by early 2016.