The Australian Government is set to develop the infrastructure at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Townsville in Queensland.

Using local procurement policies, the government is investing A$40m ($26m) to develop new facilities for defence’s CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Construction work will be executed by local companies and employees.

The infrastructure development project will include the construction of new aircraft shelters, a support facility and working accommodation.

Additionally, tarmac parking for three Chinooks will be developed at RAAF Base Townsville for the 5th Aviation Regiment.

Australia Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “Some 90% of the project is being delivered by local businesses.

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“Through our Local Capability Industry Plan, we’ve ensured that local businesses deliver the lion’s share of this project. With so much uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a welcome boost to the local economy.”

The selected contractor for the project is LendLease, under which, a local design team, Conrad Gargett and local construction personnel will aid the construction.

Additionally, two local students from James Cook University will work with LendLease on the RAAF Base Townsville project.

The development project will support the local companies amid the uncertainty caused due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Works under the project have continued through the pandemic.

Australia Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said: “We’re doing a significant amount of work on local defence infrastructure at the moment and I’m always pushing for our very capable local contractors to be involved so it’s great to see that happening with this project.

“The project is expected to be complete later this year with around 400 workers directly participating in the construction of the new facilities, with the overwhelming majority of these Townsville locals.”