More RAAF base spending

A FURTHER $207 million will be spent on upgrading RAAF Base East Sale, making it the home of Australian Defence Force pilot training.

Gippsland MHR Darren Chester began the 2016 federal election campaign by announcing the funding package, which will include major upgrades to facilities at the base, and bring an influx of trainee pilots to the region.

The Basic Flight Training School will be relocated to east Sale from 2019, under Project AIR 5428. This will result in all Army, Navy and Air Force recruits receiving their initial pilot training in Gippsland.

Mr Chester said the federal government’s Parliamentary Works Committee had signed off on the second stage of the base upgrade, injecting millions of dollars and creating jobs in the Gippsland economy.

“The PWC has confirmed that more than $207 million would be spent upgrading RAAF Base East Sale,” he said.

“This is another significant announcement for the entire gippsland region. We are on the verge of becoming the home of Defence pilot training in Australia and (this) sets up our region for the long-term.”

Mr Chester said this latest investment was in addition to the $185 million upgrade recently completed at RAAF Base East Sale.

The new and upgraded buildings were on show on Sunday at the RAAF Base East Sale open day, which was initiated following discussions between Mr Chester and Chief of Air Force Leo Davies.

“It was great to see so many people reviewing the works at RAAF Base east Sale, and this announcement means there is much more to be done,” Mr Chester said.

“All Gippslanders should be proud of the RAAF Base and this further cements its place in the long-term future in our region.

“Local employers and contractors have benefited from past works at RAAF east Sale and it is the community’s strong expectation local businesses will be able to bid for this latest package of upgrades.

“RAAF Base east Sale is a major employer for our region, providing jobs to not just Defence personnel, but also other small businesses in the Wellington region.”