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$1.88 billion in the NT in 2016 to 2017, or 7.3% 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 Barracks, 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.

Defence ships in Darwin harbour

Defence and defence support facts and stats:

  • AU$1.88 billion: Defence spend in the NT in 2016 to 2017
  • 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
  • the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Regiment and 75% of Australia’s Armidale-class patrol boats are based in the NT.

Related information