I have been advocating for a relocation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from Fleet Base East, Garden Island to Port Kembla, NSW.
Since first raising the idea in 2006, the changing security environment and the planned commissioning of a variety of new warships in the coming years have increased pressure upon the existing facilities, necessitating the Navy’s requirement for a new basing arrangement on the East Coast.
On 29 October 2014, I made a submission to the 2015 Defence White Paper process advocating for the relocation of Garden Island and its existing naval facilities to Port Kembla. Since then I have worked closely with regional businesses, industry and key local, state and federal government stakeholders to present a case for relocation to Port Kembla.
As NSW’s third largest population centre and economy, the Illawarra is well positioned to meet the growing personnel, material and operational requirements of the Royal Australian Navy. The world-class University, an existing Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Office combined with the established industrial centre in the Port Kembla Steelworks and its supporting manufacturing industries provide key advantages to Port Kembla as the alternate east coast naval base.
Further to these features, Port Kembla’s proximity to major Defence assets including Naval Air Station (NAS) Albatross and the East Australian Exercise Area (EAXA) all strengthen the case for relocating Garden Island to Port Kembla in the future.
Key local stakeholders lent their support to a Regional Development Australia- Illawarra (RDAI) coordinated submission.