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Defence has engaged Watpac Construction as managing contractor for a $155 million upgrade at HMAS Cairns.

Designs will be finalised around July 2022 for the NCIS-8A HMAS Cairns Building and Maritime Works package.

On-site construction is set to commence in September 2022 and be completed by December 2024.

The $155 million investment will support the new Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

“The upgrades at HMAS Cairns will create local jobs both during the construction phase and afterwards through ongoing sustainment,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“More jobs will be created through the supply chain and in off-site manufacturing.

“This investment will be a significant boost to the local Cairns economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Under the Government’s Defence Policy for Industry Participation, Watpac will implement a Local Industry Capability Plan to maximise opportunities for local businesses to supply goods or services.

In a boost for local jobs, the project sets a target of around 80 per cent of subcontract packages being awarded to local industry in the Greater Cairns Region.

Watpac to lead $155m Cairns Defence works
 An artist’s impression of planned maritime structures at HMAS Cairns.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch welcomed Watpac’s commitment to the Cairns economy.

“With a commencement of 45 extra jobs and, at its peak, up to 180 personnel, this is just what we need in the region,” Mr Entsch said.

“This just isn’t on site either, off site work is also carried out, so the positive flow-on effect this creates in the supply chain is just great”

Works will include demolition of the existing Navy wharf and construction of a new wharf in its place, as well as an upgrade of the existing explosive ordnance loading buoy in Trinity Inlet.

Landside operational support facilities will include a new office building, upgrades to maintenance and logistics facilities, and new storage facilities.

Further information is available at: https://www.defence.gov.au/id/NCIS/Default.asp

Watpac to lead $155m Cairns Defence works
A new office building will be constructed within close proximity to the wharves.