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A New Decade:
The 7RAR battalion will
move into the nation s first
Defence Super Base when it
relocates from Darwin to Adelaide s
Edinburgh precinct later this year.
The move is the culmination of
millions of dollars of investment
and years of work for thousands of
people around Australia.
The Super Base concept is the
result of cost-efficiencies which
occur when Defence services are
centralised, says Defence Teaming
Centre CEO Philip de Courcey.
"Combining the army and the air
force at Edinburgh will maximise
efficiencies and give SA a significant
economic boost," he says.
The battalion s move, announced
in December, 2005, will see 1300
personnel, a battalion equipped with
upgraded Ml 13 Armoured Personnel
Carriers, a mechanised combat
engineer squadron, a self-propelled
artillery battery, a combat services
support team and a detachment from
the headquarters of the 1st Brigade,
set up home in South Australia.
Tier 1 construction company
Baulderstone, which was awarded
two project contracts with a
combined value of more than $400
million, began constructing more
than 55 buildings at the Edinburgh
site in November, 2008. Baulderstone
project director Vince Hatch says
that development employed up to 850
Battalion Commanding Officer
Mick Garraway says the move
was welcome because it enabled
year-round training, re-balances
Australia s Defence forces by creat-
ing a presence in Australia s south,
and brings most of the soldiers
closer to home.
The move is part of the Hardened
and Networked Army Facilities
project, which is investing $597
million in modern facilities across
three locations in South Australia:
at RAAF Edinburgh, Murray Bridge
Training Area and the Cultana
Training Area, in the state s north.
The 7RAR s troops are expected to
bring with them 380 partners and 425
children, giving businesses north of
the city a massive boost. The move is
expected to provide 1600 jobs, pump
$100 million into the SA economy
every year, and help cement SA s
reputation as the "Defence State".
Mr de Courcey says the average
annual salary for uniformed
personnel is about $70,000, and the
battalion s move will result in 1300
salaries flowing into the region each
"Because the money Defence is
investing in this state will not be
spent on procurement, most of the
benefits will be felt directly -- by
everyone from lawn mowers to
parcel deliverers and everything in
between," he says.
The state-of-the-art facilities
being constructed at Edinburgh will
include working accommodation,
hi-tech close-training facility, driver
training area, vehicle wash point,
living accommodation for more than
200, and common-use facilities for
the army and air force, including a
mess and community areas.
The project will also deliver a new
health facility and a fitness facility,
which will include a gymnasium,
50m swimming pool and squash
By October, 2010, most of the work-
ing accommodation facilities and
the health facility will be completed,
with other facilities to be completed
in early 2011.
The move brings the battalion
closer to the Cultana Training Area,
320km north of Adelaide.
This 47,000ha, all-weather
training area has previously been
used by Darwin-based troops
during February and March, when
Northern Territory weather has
Cultana is expected to triple in size
within the next five years.
South Australia is considered an
ideal base for the battalion because
its geography mimics the terrain of
existing areas of operation in the
Middle East and Afghanistan.
Lt-Col Garraway will spend the
first year of his three-year posting
as the battalion s commanding
officer in Darwin and move with it to
Edinburgh later this year.
He plans for the battalion to focus
on its core fighting skills in the wake
of its recent tour of Afghanistan,
"We ll also have a number of tasks
in support of other units who will
be deploying on operations in the
Middle East, and we ll be preparing
for our move to SA," he says.
"Adelaide will provide us an
opportunity to serve in a city with
excellent facilities and opportunities
for families. The lifestyle we can lead
in Adelaide is second to none."
Once established, the relocated
forces will be formally designated as
1st Brigade (Adelaide) -- 1BDE (Adel).
The battalion is expected to
eventually number more than 1000
For more information and to
subscribe to SA Defence Business
phone 8224 1605 or email
Military on the move
The SA economy is set to receive an annual cash injection
of about $100 million after the 7RAR battalion moves to
Adelaide later this year, writes Kate Nash.
New buildings under construction at the 7RAR Edinburgh base.
Photo: Kate Elmes
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