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Defense Infrastructure

Indigenous construction company delivers critical infrastructure upgrades

2 min read
Indigenous company delivers critical infrastructure upgrades for Defence

Barpa Pty Ltd, an Australian Indigenous construction company, has been awarded a $25.8 million head contract to deliver critical infrastructure upgrades at HMAS Waterhen. 

Barpa’s $25.8 million contract with Defence is expected to reap huge benefits to North Sydney businesses. The NSW economy will also receive benefits from the contract as it maximises the opportunities for Indigenous and local businesses. 

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Australian Government committed to a significant investment at HMAS Waterhen to support current and new maritime capabilities. 

“HMAS Waterhen is the Royal Australian Navy’s lead establishment for mine warfare and supports a large workforce of Defence personnel,” Minister Price said. 

“The project will improve critical base infrastructure and ensure HMAS Waterhen continues to be able to provide support to the mine warfare force.”

Minister Price said Barpa will remediate and upgrade the engineering services and working accommodation at HMAS Waterhen. 

“The construction workforce will average 20 workers per day, with a predicted peak of around 50 workers per day,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said. 

“Under its Local Industry Capability Plan, the project will target local businesses for 85 per cent of all subcontracting work.” 

Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman welcomed the upgrade works to HMAS Waterhen, stating that the investment will upgrade the iconic Navy site while delivering a significant economic boost to the local businesses of North Sydney.

Barpa was procured under the Indigenous Procurement Policy to support the development of Indigenous businesses, skills and workforce. 

The new contract with the Indigenous construction company reinforces the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting Indigenous businesses under the Indigenous Procurement Policy.

Since the introduction of the Indigenous Procurement Policy in 2015, more than $4 billion of Federal Government contracts have been awarded to Indigenous businesses. 

Defence continues to exceed the Australian Government’s targets under the Indigenous Procurement Policy as over $2 billion in contract value have been awarded to Indigenous-owned businesses.

In 2020-21, Defence exceeded its number target of 676 contracts by awarding over 3426 contracts to Indigenous businesses at a value of $497 million, higher than the value target of $110 million. 

Detailed design work on the project started in July, with construction due to start in late 2021 and finish in mid-2023. 



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