DDR Australia is breaking new ground – quite literally – with a new Defence project on the border of NSW and QLD.
On Monday 5 June, DDR Australia Director Tom Hutcheson led several other DDR team members in participating in a ‘turning of the sod’ ceremony at the company’s new $12.71 million Defence project in Tweed Heads, 37km south of the Gold Coast. Present at the event were Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite and Richmond MP Justine Elliott, both of whom donned DDR hard hats for the occasion.
The aim of the works is to develop a multi-user depot (MUD) for the Australian Defence Force Reserve and Australian Army Cadets to meet both current and future needs. The key objectives are to provide:
- Fit-for-purpose home base facilities
- Training areas that comply with statutory requirements
- The ongoing safety of Defence and civilian personnel utilising the facilities
Scope of works
The project consists of two stages:
- Stage 1 – Construction of a multi-user depot, incorporating offices, conference rooms, training facilities, storage, parking and associated infrastructure
- Stage 2 – Refurbishment of Training Ship (TS) Vampire’s existing facilities
The multi-user depot will benefit the Australian Army’s A Company, 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment and 225 Army Cadet Unit. The refurbishment of TS Vampire will assist the Royal Australian Navy Cadets in their training activities.
Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite was pleased to formally mark the commencement of the works.
“It’s great to see us reach this important milestone as we break ground for the new multi-user facilities we’re building for the Australian Army,” he said.
“We continue to evolve the Defence estate to provide modern facilities across Australia for our personnel to work, train and live in.”
Two Aboriginal-owned businesses at the fore
For DDR, one of the highlights of this project is working alongside Indigenous-owned project management and engineering company Jabin. Owned and led by Indigenous engineers Dennis Jose and Grant Maher, Jabin bears similarities to DDR besides its provision of exemplary services.
Like DDR, Jabin is dedicated to positively impacting the lives of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples, whether it be through the development of Indigenous communities or the mentoring of young First Nations engineers.
The Assistant Minister said he was proud to see the Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy in action.
“There are two Indigenous-owned businesses leading the construction work, and the project management and contract administration,” he said.
“The project is creating local job opportunities in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, aiming for 85 per cent local contractor engagement,” he added.
More than just a Defence asset – Operation Flood Assist 2022
From late February to early March 2022, South East Queensland and large parts of New South Wales experienced intense rainfall and significant flooding events. During this time, there were 13,105 requests for assistance to the State Emergency Services and more than 654 fire-and-rescue, swift-water related incidents. Several areas were declared disaster zones. In the Northern Rivers town of Lismore, 3,000 homes were flooded.
On 25 February, at the request of Queensland Police, Defence commenced its support of rescue efforts. Army helicopters were used to rescue community members trapped in flood-affected areas.
The mission became known as Operation Flood Assist and Defence continued to provide support in both flood emergency and recovery efforts, as requested by the Queensland and New South Wales governments, well into April.
A home for our heroes
As the new multi-user depot and refurbished training ship are located close to flood-prone areas in Queensland and New South Wales, they will be home to some of the Defence personnel most likely to be deployed in the case of future natural disasters.
According to the Department of Defence, these important developments and upgrades “will go a long way in Lismore, particularly following their significant efforts in Operation Flood Assist and recovery efforts.”
Richmond MP Justine Elliott said the breaking-ground event marked the start of construction of new facilities and a permanent home for the Australian Army in Chinderah.
Employment opportunities were also a likely benefit.
“Building this new facility helps with our flood preparedness and creates more local jobs,” she said.