Royal Australian Air Force Base (RAAF) Curtin
Royal Australian Air Force Base (RAAF) Curtin

Australian Government to Invest AU$244 Million in Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtin

The Australian Government is planning to invest $244 million in a major upgrade of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airbase near Derby in Western Australia that will support 250 jobs and provide a shot in the arm for the local economy. The airbase will undergo a major refurbishment and replacement of its facilities and infrastructure, including upgrades to communications, water and electrical services, roads, working accommodation, workshops, aircraft hangars, storage areas and security infrastructure. The project is currently in the development phase and, subject to Government and Parliamentary approval, construction is expected to start in late 2024 and be finished in mid-2026.

Minister for Defence Industry and Member for Durack Melissa Price said,”The Government’s planned investment will be a major boost for the local community. This is fantastic news for small and medium businesses in and 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. $244 million is a huge investment that will support 250 local jobs during the construction period. One of our core objectives is to maximise employment opportunities for local companies to bid for work on these sorts of projects and this one will be no different. This investment speaks volumes about the importance the Morrison Government places on RAAF Base Curtin to the defence of our nation. Our investment has come at the perfect time and will be welcomed by those who work there.”

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A No 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III takes off from RAAF Base Curtin as an AP-3C Orion starts its engines
A No 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III takes off from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airbase Curtin as an AP-3C Orion starts its engines. (Photo by CPL David Said/Australian Government Department of Defence)

WSP Australia has been engaged as Defence’s Project Manager and Contract Administrator for the development phase of the project. WSP has started its initial engagement with local community groups and Indigenous groups, including Kimberley shires. The company has been providing information to enable those interested to prepare to capitalise on the opportunities the project will deliver. Defence released a Request for Tender in February 2022 to engage a Managing Contractor, which will be responsible for managing the project design and overseeing subcontractors for its delivery. The tender period is set to close on 8 April, with a Managing Contractor expected to be engaged by Defence in June 2022.

RAAF Base Curtin, also sometimes RAAF Curtin is a joint use Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base and civil airport located 19 nautical miles (35 km; 22 mi) southeast of the town of Derby on the north coast of Western Australia in Australia. RAAF Curtin was the first new major military airfield to be built in Australia since World War II. It was established in the 1950s to provide support for land, air and sea operations aimed at securing Australia’s northern approaches. The base is named in honour of former Prime Minister John Curtin. Curtin is one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s three ‘bare bases’, meaning it can be used for training exercises and operations. No RAAF units are permanently based at Curtin and it is maintained by a small caretaker staff during peacetime. RAAF Base Curtin forms a key part of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) network of northern airbases and plays a vital role in supporting the training and operations of the ADF in WA’s North-West and the Indian Ocean.

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