Defence bases in Darling Downs avoid closure with $450m

TWO defence bases on the Darling Downs no longer have to fight for their future, with the injection of $450 million of funding across 20 years for the Oakey and Cabarlah sites.

Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane announced the funding today as part of the 2016 Defence White Paper.

He said the Cabarlah base funding was a relief, with the base always risking closure from defence minsters in the past looking to consolidate assets.

There were fears for the same fate at the Oakey base.

"With the Oakey base the naysayers and the doom-sayers always said it would end," he said.

Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane announces increased funding for army bases in Cabarlah and Oakey.
Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane announces increased funding for army bases in Cabarlah and Oakey. Bev Lacey

Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah are set to receive $100 million by 2025-26, and $30 million by 2035-36 for upgrades to support land force capability.

The Army Aviation Training Centre facilities at Swartz Barracks in Oakey will receive $30 million by 2025-2026 and $300 million in the decade to 2035-36.

The spending will support new CH-47F Chinook and MRH-90 troop lift helicopter capabilities as well as other training.

He said the flow-on effect from the upgrades would be an increase in jobs during the construction phase, but also certainty to businesses that provide services to the defence industry.

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"We have over 1000 defence force personnel located in this region and we have a huge history of defence in this region," he said.

He said the ongoing concerns in Oakey around water contamination from past use of chemicals at the base "was starting to drag" and was "a very difficult process" to manage.

Mr Macfarlane said he would be attending the Senate inquiry's public hearing in Oakey on March 9 to address the issues.

Topics:  federal government funding macfarlane toowoomba

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