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Major investment in Australia's special forces.

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Media contacts Mark Williams (Senator Hill) 08 8237 7920 0401 147 558

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate


Friday 8 July 2005 112/2005


The Howard Government has approved a $207 million redevelopment of Special Forces facilities at Holsworthy Barracks to support the relocation of Special Operations Command units to the Sydney Defence base.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said Holsworthy is one of Australia’s key bases for national security and is used to train our Special Forces in counter terrorism as well as train snipers, commandos and the Incident Response Regiment.

“Australia’s Special Forces are considered amongst the most capable Special Forces in the world and recent initiatives have significantly strengthened Australia’s domestic and offshore security capabilities,” Senator Hill said.

“This redevelopment project will deliver a dedicated precinct to accommodate two key units of Special Operations Command, the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) - including the Tactical Assault Group (East) - and the Incident Response Regiment.

“Many of the facilities at Holsworthy were built in the 1960s or earlier and no longer meet the needs of the new Special Operations units which are currently housed in old or temporary facilities.

“The project will provide vital accommodation and infrastructure to support the new training facilities already approved and under construction at Holsworthy including electronic and live firing ranges and a mock-up aircraft, plus training for counter terrorism scenarios.

“This new project will support the latest Special Forces capabilities through construction of medical facilities, workshops, briefing rooms, warehouses and vehicle parks. There will also be upgrades to communications, security, external lighting, and stormwater management.

“The redevelopment will improve the facilities needed for our Special Forces to be able to respond to terrorist and other threats against Australia and our national interests.

“The new facilities will centralise most of the Sydney based Special Forces elements into one location. About 3000 personnel are currently based at Holsworthy, of which close to 1000 make up 4RAR and the IRR. Holsworthy remains a long term Defence base.”

Two Sydney-based architectural firms, Group GSA and Rice Daubney Group, will design the working and logistic accommodation facilities, while Carson Group will project manage the development and construction of the facilities. The successful tenderer for the construction of the facilities is expected to be announced early next year with work to commence shortly after. The project is to be completed in 2009.

The Government has previously announced four separate projects to boost Special Forces capabilities including the full time commando capability, the Incident Response Regiment and Tactical Assault Group - East, and the establishment of Special Operations Command.

In August last year, the design for the new Special Forces training facilities at Holsworthy was complete - these facilities are now under construction.