The opening ceremony of Wharf 10 in the Port of Townsville, Queensland was held on 18 October 2013. The ceremony was presided by the Australian Minister for Defence Senator the Hon David Johnston, who described the event as “a magnificent partnership between the State of Queensland, the Port of Townsville, the Australian Defence Force and the Townsville City Council.”
“The vessels that we will have here, the 28,000 tonne LHD’s that will take several hundred soldiers and more than a dozen helicopters, are a strategic asset that will transform the way Australia does its defence business, not just in Australia, but regionally.
I want to pay tribute particularly to the Port of Townsville for their foresight and cooperation and the way they have partnered with Navy particularly, in bringing this project forward. It has been a wonderful program and we’re very pleased with the way it’s gone,” the Minister said.
The Minister continued by saying that Townsville is one of the most important towns in consideration by the Defence Department, adding that the way this project had gone has just been something that has underlined the cohesion and the partnership that the Australian Defence Force has with Townsville.
When asked by the journalists whether this project will pave the way for establishment of a naval base in Townsville in the future, the Minister replied:
“Well these vessels are so large I think you could almost say that when they are here it will be a naval base, I mean seriously I would be very surprised with the 200 metres of length of each of these vessels that you would have anything of this dimension turning up regularly to Townsville of that dimension, of that value and importance strategically to the whole nation. So we are very proud of Townsville and to be part of Townsville in the future with these two ships.”
Press Release, November 20, 2013