26 April 2024

Far North RAAF assets to benefit from $50.3b boost to Defence spend

| Lyndon Keane
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An Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet departs on a flying operation from Weipa’s RAAF Base Scherger during Exercise Talisman Sabre in 2021. Photo: Department of Defence.

Weipa’s RAAF Base Scherger could be set to benefit from the Federal Government’s $50.3 billion boost to defence spending announced on 17 April.

The government unveiled its 2024 National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program (IIP) last week, with the bumper figure to be spent over the next decade above the previously identified trajectory over that period.

RAAF Base Scherger is one of three “bare bases” across northern Australia, along with Western Australian site RAAF Base Curtin, near Derby, and RAAF Base Learmonth, near Exmouth.

Bare bases are designed so operational units can move into existing facilities at little or no notice for defence requirements or exercises, including the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre.

READ ALSO Scherger brought to life for exercise

While there is no specific reference to RAAF Base Scherger in the IIP, the 100-page document does include investments of $14-18b to “ensure Defence has a logistically connected and resilient set of bases, ports and barracks across Australia’s north”, in addition to identifying “infrastructure enhancements” to Far North Queensland sites.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the additional funding commitment meant the government would now spend $330b on the IIP over the decade to 2033-34.

“To deliver impactful projection, we are making an historic investment in Defence funding, including $330 billion for the Integrated Investment Program over the decade, a significant lift from previous planning,” he said.

“At a time of complex challenges and increasing uncertainty, a stronger, integrated, focused and capable Defence Force is of the upmost importance.”

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