A sneak peek of a future training ground for the Australian Army, Navy and Airforce was afforded to the The Transcontinental on Thursday, with Assistant Defence Minister David Fawcett taking a tour of the site.
The Urban Operations Training Facility is a key feature of the federal government’s $84 million upgrade of the Cultana Training Area, which also includes a range control facility, car wash points, and storage for explosive ordinance. The training facility, which is expected to be fully completed in March, provides soldiers with an opportunity to train in a ‘built area’ environment in preparation of being deployed overseas.
Lieutenant Colonel Leigh Dalman said soldiers were often finding themselves fighting in urban environments when deployed.
“The world’s population is living in urban areas, so that’s where wars will be fought and also where we will be requiring to assist on humanitarian aid operations,” he said.
"We’re looking forward to commencing training here this year, we expect the units around Adelaide will make good use of this facility as soon as it’s open.”
The project was undertaken by Capital Facilities Infrastructure (CFI) with St Hilliers as the head contractor.
Thirteen contractors from Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Port Pirie shared in $33 million of work.
Local businesses AS Carlson & Sons, Walga Mining, Aquest Engineering, Coates Hire, Access Hire, Veolia, Lucas Total Contract Solutions and Peter Scheide Painting all contributed to the project.
Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the amount of local content in this project was ‘substantially better’ than previous efforts.
“We made sure to keep Defence focused on the fact that we need some kind of regional dividend when these facilities are built,” he said.
“It’s important we get that economic spin-off which comes back to our communities for hosting their facility in the first place.”
Minister Fawcett said the environment around Whyalla made it possible for Defence to conduct joint operations comprising of land, air and sea units.
“They get to work together in a very realistic environment,” he said.