Exmouth Defence proposal one step closer

Member for Durack Melissa Price.

Member for Durack Melissa Price.

Defence is progressing its proposal to construct a Space Surveillance Telescope Facility at the Harold E Holt Naval Communications Station in Exmouth, Western Australia, with the referral of the project to the Public Works Committee.

The facility would be the cornerstone of a space situational awareness partnership between Australia and the United States, following a 2012 agreement that both governments would work towards locating a Space Surveillance Telescope on Australian soil.

Valued at $63 million inclusive of design, construction and fittings, Melissa Price Member for Durack said that the referral is a positive action in securing the project for WA and in enhancing the Defence presence in Exmouth.

“Exmouth is a vibrant town in my electorate of Durack and has played a global role for many years in Defence and in space technology,” Ms Price said.

“Exmouth was established in 1967 to support the nearby US Naval Communication Station and in the early seventies, Exmouth began hosting US Air Force personnel assigned to the nearby Learmonth Solar Observatory.

“As the town develops and diversifies its economy with tourism, fishing, and servicing of the oil and gas industry, Defence continues to be of fundamental importance to Exmouth’s economic base.

“I am extremely pleased that this latest proposal has been referred to the Public Works Committee, which will now conduct an inquiry into the project,” Ms Price said.

The facility would be located within the existing Harold E Holt Naval Communications Station offering the best conditions for telescope functionality of the sites available.

Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is expected to commence in early 2015.