Work ramps up on Williamtown Aerospace Centre

As the region prepares for the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets work is ramping up on projects at the $500 million Williamtown Aerospace Centre.

Two structures have already been built on the 89-hectare site adjoining the Williamtown RAAF base, and the Mercure Hotel is well under construction.

Plans have now been lodged with Port Stephens Council for a $2.3 million new office that will focus on promoting the aerospace centre around the region and nationally.

The developers, WAC Holdings, will be looking to sign up companies that want to buy into around $1 billion worth of infrastructure at the RAAF base, such as air traffic control, telecommunications, radar and other electronics equipment.

The main tenant is the US-based Lockheed Martin and other global aerospace, defence, security and advanced technology companies are expected to follow.

The first JSF jets will arrive in late 2018.

Federal Paterson MP Bob Baldwin said Hunter companies vying for the JSF defence work at Williamtown should be preparing now.

“The joint strike fighter will be a once in lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“We need to make sure we capitalise on it.

“I encourage investment and I encourage people to take up the opportunity to invest in our region.”

Hunter Land had a nine-year battle to get sewerage lines and other infrastructure put in place so the areospace centre could go ahead.

Mr Baldwin said it is crucial that applications for defence work at Williamtown are not stifled by delays.

“What is absolutely critical is that we work with the business community to take every opportunity to create local jobs around the aerospace park,” he said.

“We are ready to take those opportunities but it will require people getting out of the way and not putting undue delays in the way to being able to establish these facilities.”