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$2.1 billion in the NT in 2017 to 2018, or 8.4% of GSP. This will increase over the coming two decades to AU$2.5 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.

Positioning the NT to benefit from AU$20 billion of Australian Defence Force construction projects planned over the next 20 years is central to government’s Defence and National Security Strategy, which was launched in February 2018.

The NT Government is also investing AU$100 million to develop a common user 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$2.1 billion: Defence spend in the NT in 2017 to 2018
  • around 5000 uniformed Defence personnel in the NT
  • Defence presence of around 9500 people, or 4% of the NT population
  • AU$20 billion in Defence construction projects in the NT in the next 20 years
  • 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