Records 1983

Katherine - Tindal Infrastructure

On 8 March 1983, Cabinet considered a report on the infrastructure needs likely to result from the Department of Defence proposals for the development of Tindal Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base and the location of RAAF personnel at Katherine.

The Department of Defence proposals included the deployment to Tindal of an FA18 Squadron in 1986/87 and more comprehensive development of Tindal to include the transfer in the longer term of much of the RAAF activities currently conducted at Darwin. 

Options for location of RAAF personnel at Tindal and Katherine were also being considered.

It was noted this proposal would have a significant impact on the growth and development of Katherine.

It was estimated that employment could peak at about 1,000 additional positions in 1984/85, from jobs directly associated with construction projects and additional flow-on employment in service industries and the public sector.

Defence officials envisaged all single personnel and about 100 families would be housed at Tindal base, with the balance of married staff being housed in Katherine and Katherine East.

Subdivision requirements would involve the turn-off of serviced residential land to meet housing requirements at Katherine, spread over a three year period.

In terms of power supply requirements, it was anticipated that construction of an additional 11 kilo-volt (kV) feeder from Katherine to Tindal at a cost of $300,000 would be needed with implementation of the first stage.

Detailed feasibility studies would be conducted to identify a long term water supply development program, as part of planning for water and sewerage services. 

Several surface water alternatives had however been identified including Donkey Camp on the Katherine River, six possible dam sites on tributaries of McAddens Creek, two possible sites on Dorothy Creek, a dam site and run-of-the-river potential on 17 Mile Creek and Keckwick Dam on the Katherine River upstream from the Gorge.

Other likely infrastructure requirements were identified including:

  • duplication of Stuart Highway between Katherine and Tindal – cost estimate $3.5 million
  • a new pre-school, primary school and secondary school
  • extensions to Katherine hospital to provide a 32 bed wing at a cost of $1.5 million
  • possible upgrading of police facilities at Katherine
  • possible upgrading of Court facilities if the Supreme Court began sitting in Katherine.

The report noted the substantial projected influx of armed services personnel to a small community would have significant impacts on the composition and lifestyle of that community. 

Appropriate planning could greatly minimise negative impacts and problems with a net gain in economic expansion and growth of community services and activities.

Cabinet noted the report.

Read the Cabinet decision - submission number 2422 and decision number 2856 of 8 March 1983 PDF (4.9 MB).

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Last updated: 14 April 2021

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