A major redevelopment of a Port Melbourne research facility used by Australia’s best Defence scientists will support 280 jobs during construction and provide a boost to the Victorian economy of more than $200 million. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price today announced Icon SI (Aust) Pty Ltd had signed an $7.3 million contract with the government for the managing contractor role for the development phase of the Fishermans Bend redevelopment project. The specialist research base accommodates elements of the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), which is our lead agency dedicated to providing science and technology support for the country’s defence and security needs. The site supports about 850 staff and 150 contractors to the DSTG.

Price said the redevelopment project would ensure the site’s infrastructure and facilities remained operational and fit-for-purpose, allowing Defence scientists to focus on meeting challenges confronting Defence both now and in the future. “The works at Fishermans Bend will not only benefit Defence but also support the Victorian economy by generating exciting opportunities for small, local businesses,” Price said. “The workforce is expected to peak at 280 during construction, with 89 per cent of the work to be sourced locally from metropolitan Melbourne. The Morrison government’s investment is helping to ensure the economy continues to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Minister for the Digital Economy and Senator for Victoria Jane Hume said the Fishermen’s Bend project will continue to drive Victoria’s economic recovery here and support jobs of the future. “This is an exciting announcement, which will create jobs and bolster Australia’s Defence and National Security. It will also support employment opportunities for future science and technology graduates from Victoria’s world leading universities,” Hume said.

The $209 million project proposes to upgrade the existing infrastructure and facilities, construct a new consolidated office and improve access control and physical security measures. Icon was formed through a combination of the Icon Co and Cockram businesses in 2018 and is one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest construction providers, delivering a fully diversified range of construction services and scale of projects. The company has a growing role in the delivery of major projects across the Defence estate and will soon start planning, site investigations and design development for the Fishermans Bend project. Pending Government and Parliamentary approvals, construction is expected to start in mid-2023 and be completed by late 2025.

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