Election 2022: Almost $700 million kicked in for a defence reno

By Tom Ravlic

May 11, 2022

Melissa Price
Minister for defence industry Melissa Price (Defence)

The federal government has announced yet another renovation and expansion to a defence facility, with the promise of $694.4 million for the General John Baker Complex, which is home to the joint operations command for the Australian Defence Force here and overseas.

Minister for defence industry Melissa Price said the intention was to get the complex to a stage where it could accommodate a larger workforce that could support Australia’s strategic needs in a “rapidly deteriorating” climate.

“The first priority of our government is to keep Australians safe, and this $700 million investment is about ensuring we are doing that,” Price said.

“Once completed, this facility will accommodate up to 1,400 personnel, almost doubling its current capacity to support the ADF’s response to increasingly complex multi-domain operations, including in cyber, space and humanitarian and disaster relief.”

Tassie reserves and cadets score $30 million

Defence minister Peter Dutton has made yet another spending promise in his portfolio, with $30 million towards the renovation and expansion of army reserve and cadet facilities in Tasmania.

Various facilities will receive a cut of the funds with $23 million of the funding going to the Derwent Barrack Multi-User Depot.

That investment is a portion of a $1 billion that has been set aside to renovate army reserve and cadet facilities around the country.

“We want to provide improved opportunities for cadets through a number of avenues, including better facilities, enhanced experiences, mentoring and relevant skilling,” Dutton said.

“All ADF cadets, whether it be Navy, Army or Air Force, learn discipline, civic-mindedness, and useful life skills, while also kindling an interest in the ADF.”

$5 million technology skills passports

A re-elected Coalition government would put in place a technology skills passport that will assist with getting Australians work ready.

Minister for employment, workforce, skills, small and family business Stuart Robert said the government is keen to partner with the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) to speed up the implementation of skills passports.

The ATN is a network of universities that comprises Curtin University, Deakin University, RMIT University, The University of Newcastle, University of South Australia, and University of Technology Sydney.

“Critically, the new and innovative partnership aligns with work already underway to achieve the longer-term vision of creating an integrated tertiary system — providing a single point of entry for Australians to ‘rack and stack’ credentials across the university and VET sectors.” Robert said.

Network chair professor Iain Martin said the partnership with government was crucial to developing the programs that give workers the necessary skills for the contemporary workplace.

“This initiative is an answer to ATN’s calls for the government to partner with universities and industry to deliver solutions to fill urgent and persistent skills requirements, flexibly meet emerging needs, and create a vision to address Australia’s challenges and opportunities,” Martin said.

“A three-way partnership between universities, industry and the government is crucial to delivering better outcomes for industry, workers and the economy.”


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