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Upgrade of port facilities, Townsville.



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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Wednesday, 6 May 2009 070/2009

UPGRADE OF PORT FACILITIES, TOWNSVILLE

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, announced today that existing port facilities in Townsville will be upgraded ahead of the introduction into service of Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock ships in 2014.

“Townsville is a highly significant Defence city. It is one of two primary locations for mounting Australian Defence Force operations, and will be essential for the loading and offloading of the Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock ships when they enter service from 2014,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The Port of Townsville development plans have identified the need to upgrade Berth 10 to accommodate Handymax size commercial ships. This development would not accommodate the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock ships.

The requirement for a berth that could accommodate the new ships was not foreseen by the former Government and will be a critical piece of infrastructure for the Townsville community, as outlined in the 2009 Defence White Paper.

“I look forward to working closely with the Port of Townsville to seek an enhanced Berth 10 upgrade, to include Defence’s requirements for the larger (Panamax size) Landing Helicopter Dock ships.”

The enhanced upgrade would include lengthening the existing Berth 10 to approximately 230 metres and strengthening the berth to accommodate the movement of heavy armoured vehicles and equipment.

“An extended Berth 10 would also provide valuable berthing space for other visiting Royal Australian Navy and allied warships, enhancing the capacity of the port to support major exercises. The Port of Townsville has already indicated its support, in principle, to this innovative proposal although detailed funding arrangements have yet to be agreed.”

This significant project will see nearly $50 million dollars injected directly into the Townsville community over the next four years. The benefits of this enhanced wharf will be not only for Defence, but for all the users of the Port of Townsville.

Townsville will also be the beneficiary of an enhanced naval aviation fuel storage facility. These facilities will be capable of supporting aircraft operation from the new Landing Helicopter Dock ships as well as other visiting warships.

“This is a vital element in ensuring that our troops going on operation or exercise will have all the support they need,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.

Investment in new facilities will guarantee the availability and supply of aviation fuel to Royal Australian Navy ships for at least the next 25 years.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664