RAAF Base Curtin set for upgrade

By Tom Ravlic

March 22, 2022

RAAF Base Curtin
A No 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III is marshalled in next to an AP-3C Orion at RAAF Base Curtin during Exercise Northern Shield 2016. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Air Force base known as RAAF Base Curtin in the Western Australian north-west town of Derby is set for a $244 million upgrade.

There is a small catch, however, because the project is in the design or development phase, with construction not likely to start until 2024.

The current scheduled date for completion of the suggested upgrade is the middle of 2026.

RAAF Base Curtin, which is one of several northern airbases that support training and operations for the Australian Defence Force, will be refurbished and parts of its facilities and infrastructure will be replaced.

Upgrades to the base will include improved communications capability, water and electrical services, roads, working accommodation, workshops, aircraft hangars, storage areas and security infrastructure.

Defence industry minister Melissa Price said the refurbishment would be good for local businesses around Derby.

“Those local businesses will have the opportunity to contribute to what is going to be a very significant redevelopment of RAAF Base Curtin,” Price said.

“$244 million is a huge investment that will support 250 local jobs during the construction period.”

The government has brought in WSP Australia as the project manager for the project’s development phase, and initial engagement with community and Indigenous groups has already started.

“When I visited the base last year I got a fantastic insight into the vital role it plays but also a great understanding of the complexities of running an airbase in a location like Derby,” Price said.

The Department of Defence has already released a Request for Tender for the managing contractor for the refurbishment project.

That call for tenders was released in February this year and the deadline for tender submissions is April 8 this year. It is likely that a managing contractor for the refurbishment will be engaged in June.

Defence has also announced that flood-related support in south-east Queensland is wrapping up with defence force personnel gradually returning home.

More than 1600 defence personnel were made available for the provision of community assistance to south-east Queensland at the peak of the operation. Members from the US navy ship USS Frank Cable, which was visiting Australia during this time, also helped support the Australia Defence Force’s flood response.


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