Two soldiers standing in an army tankThe Northern Territory is home to approximately 9.5% of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat personnel. It is also home to the ADF's newest and most advanced platforms, such as the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, Armidale Class Patrol Boats, F/A 18 Hornets and the Abrams M1A1 main battle tank.

Defence expenditure in the Territory was estimated at $1.58 billion in 2011-12. In 2012‑13, Defence expects to spend $39.2 million on major capital projects in the Territory such as the final stage of the Robertson Barracks redevelopment and the Robertson Barracks Electrical Reticulation System upgrade.

Major Defence sites in the Northern Territory include Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin, Robertson Barracks near Palmerston, HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Tindal near Katherine and the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap (with USA) near Alice Springs. In addition, the Northern Territory regularly hosts visits by overseas and Australian Navy vessels, defence training exercises and joint exercises with representatives of foreign Defence Forces.

Major Defence projects undertaken in the Northern Territory include:

  • Robertson Barracks redevelopment - $72.1 million to provide new and upgraded facilities for training, emergency response, working accommodation and equipment support.
  • Robertson Barracks electrical reticulation system upgrade - $43 million.
  • RAAF Base Darwin redevelopment stage 2 - $48.7 million for new and upgraded facilities including fuel farms and workshops.

Defence support

The Territory has a long history of supporting Australia’s Defence Forces, and Defence related contracts continue to play a major role in the Top End economy. This includes the full range of supplies and services, from stationery requisites through to ship and heavy machinery repair. The Defence industry sector looks poised to grow with opportunities arising from the Australian Defence Force Posture Review and the rotation of US Marines through Darwin for training and exercises.

The large Defence presence in the Northern Territory creates opportunities for development of Darwin as a regional supply, service and distribution centre. Increasingly, Territory companies are providing services to Defence prime contractors. To support the increasing number of opportunities and attract high value clients, the Northern Territory Government has developed the Defence Support Hub, which is a 53 hectare industrial park close to Robertson Barracks.

The Defence Support Hub will enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and prime contractors who deliver valuable support to Defence, in particular the Army, to establish strategic clusters close to their client. The location of the Defence Support Hub provides easy access to Robertson Barracks and is situated within minutes of East Arm Port, the City of Palmerston, Darwin International Airport and the Berrimah Railway Freight Terminal.

The Northern Territory Government is committed to working in partnership with business and industry to support the Defence sector. The role of the Defence Support Division in the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation is to identify and facilitate industry development opportunities in order to expand defence related businesses and activities in the Northern Territory.

The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation also provides funding support to the Australian Industry and Defence Network, NT branch (AIDN-NT). AIDN-NT is the peak Defence industry body representing Defence businesses, and provides training and support services to its members.

For more information go to the Northern Territory Government website.