Govt to inject over $1.5 billion into RAAF Amberley
THE arrival of new aircraft and more personnel seems likely to set Ipswich's reputation as a RAAF city in stone.
Over the next 20 years, the Federal Government will pump more than $1.5 billion into the Amberley base, funding the introduction of more accommodation for personnel, new maintenance facilities and two new types of aircraft.
Among the new aircraft will be the EA-18G Growler - a specialised version of the Super Hornet that is built to disrupt enemy radars and communication.
The Growlers will arrive at Amberley in 2018, and the base will have a new apron, refuelling system, hangar and maintenance bays in place ready to accommodate the aircraft.
Set to join the Growlers will be the new C-27J Spartan medium transport aircraft.
Ten Spartans arrived in Australia last year, which the RAAF says significantly boosted its capabilities to move troops, equipment and supplies.
The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the Hercules.
Maintenance for the F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft and E-7A Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft will continue to be undertaken at Amberley.
The government announced the funding as part of an increase in national defence spending, which they say they will aim to prop up to 2% of GDP over time - up from as low as 1.56% under the previous government.
Federal Wright MP Scott Buchholz welcomed the investment, which includes $850 million at the Amberley base in the next decade and a further $700 million between 2025-26 and 2035-36.
"Defence is already a major employer in the region, which has significant flow-on effects for the local economy," he said.
"The investments outlined for Amberley in the Turnbull Government's 2016 Defence White Paper will strengthen our Defence Force and provide a welcome boost to the economy."
The Defence White Paper has bi-partisan support with Labor Blair MP Shayne Neumann saying the boost at Amberley was good news for the region.
"The White Paper is a pathway forward for further investment in the military and we have one of the premier bases in the country at Amberley," he said.
"National Security and the integrity of our borders is a primary concern for the government."