Defence commits $101.3 million to ICT training facility

Work to commence early 2008

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will invest $101.3 million redeveloping its School of Signals in Victoria which is used to train staff in communications and information systems.

The massive upgrade, which will commence in early 2008, was this week approved by the parliamentary joint standing committee on public works.

The project covers a wide range of new and refurbished facilities at the Defence Force School of Signals at Simpson Barracks in Watsonia, Victoria.

It includes the construction of new working and teaching facilities, the refurbishment of some existing facilities and the construction of new living-in accommodation for long term trainees.

Simpson Barracks is a crucial part of defence infrastructure and work is expected to reach completion in late 2009.

The ADF is struggling with a serious ICT skills shortage and will spend $215 million in training and support over the next decade.

The department will need 12,000 new employees during this time with 25 percent coming from an engineering background.

Last year the department spent more than $300 million on research and development to nurture innovation, this will continue and be supported by a closer working relationship with universities and industry.

A joint defence-industry training taskforce is being established to pool resources with the private sector.

The taskforce will deliver its recommendations in the second half of 2007.

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