9 September 2014
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon welcomes the visit of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works to Newcastle tomorrow, for a public hearing into the proposed new Air Combat Capability facilities at Williamtown airbase.
As a member of the Committee, Ms Claydon has been considering proposed works at 10 Defence bases across the country to support the acquisition of 72 new F-35A aircraft.
The project will see significant investment into the RAAF Williamtown base located in the Newcastle electorate. Nearly $1.5 billion has been budgeted for new facilities and infrastructure for the project, with most work being undertaken at RAAF Base Williamtown, and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.
“I look forward to hosting the Committee at RAAF Williamtown and hearing directly from Defence officials and organisations who have made submissions to the inquiry,” Ms Claydon said.
“Local insight and information is vital in major project development planning and plays an important role in the approval process.”
Thursday’s public hearing will hear evidence and consider submissions from the Department of Defence, Roads and Maritime Services, Hunter Water Corporation and others.
The local economy is set to benefit significantly during the construction phase of the project.
“The project will see an investment of tens of millions of dollars into our regional economy,” Ms Claydon said.
“With a dearth of local investment by the Abbott Liberal Government into our region, this project is very much welcomed.”
The real boon for the region, however, would be in securing the much sought after aircraft maintenance contract.
“RAAF Williamtown is well positioned to be the Asia Pacific regional hub for repair and maintenance of the F35s but will require significant investment and support from the NSW State Government to remain competitive.”