Defence and defence support

The Northern Territory (NT) is at the frontline of Australia’s national security, and the Defence sector contributes significantly to the NT economy, both directly and indirectly, through job creation, building infrastructure and demand for goods and services.

Defence spending reached AU$2 billion in the NT in 2018 to 2019, or 7.6% of GSP. This remains above with the 10-year average defence expenditure of $2.0 billion.

Defence personnel and their families are an important part of the NT community. There are around 5000 uniformed personnel in the NT. With their families, that’s around 9500 people, or 4% of the NT population.

Major Defence sites in the NT are:

  • RAAF Base, Darwin
  • Larrakeyah Defence Precinct, Darwin
  • HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin
  • Robertson Barracks, Palmerston
  • RAAF Base Tindal (near Katherine)
  • the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (near Alice Springs).

The NT’s Defence industry supports the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force presence in the NT. It includes many types of work:

  • marine supply
  • heavy engineering
  • electrical and control systems
  • repairs and maintenance
  • logistics networks
  • construction activity
  • ship repair services
  • welding
  • engineering design and consulting services
  • scientific testing and analysis services
  • metals and materials fabrication
  • mechanical
  • electronic and electrical
  • water transport
  • security and technology services
  • manufacturing
  • logistics
  • transport
  • warehousing
  • food and beverage services.

As part of a $20 billion Defence commitment, $8 billion will be spent between 2016 and 2025 for Defence infrastructure and facilities providing opportunities for small to medium sized NT businesses to secure long term work.

The NT Government is also investing AU$100 million to develop a Darwin ship lift and marine industry facility. It responds to the growing need for marine industry services from Defence and Australian Border Force, among other sectors.

For more information on defence in the Territory, go to the DefenceNT website.

Defence ships in Darwin harbour

Defence and defence support facts and stats:

  • AU$2 billion: Defence spend in the NT in 2018 to 2019
  • around 5000 uniformed Defence personnel in the NT
  • Defence presence of around 9500 people, or 4% of the NT population
  • Seventy-five per cent of Australia’s Armidale class patrol boats, a squadron of FA18 Classic Hornet fighter jets and a large portion of the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters are in the NT.

Related information