The Government of Australia is set to invest $656m (A$875m) in 2022 to 2023 to upgrade major defence sites across the country.

The funding will be used to upgrade, refurbish, and conduct other sustainment works at barracks, airfields, ports, working accommodation, training areas, and communication stations.

Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said: “The defence estate is an important national asset, and is an integral part of enabling defence to meet its force capabilities.

“Just weeks ago, we announced our plans to grow the size of the ADF across the Army, Royal Australian Navy, and Air Force, and we know that if we are to attract additional personnel, we need to ensure our facilities are safe and fit for purpose.”

The programme will include a total of 234 defence projects.

Approximately 79 of these projects are located in New South Wales while 41 are in Queensland. The number of projects selected from the regions of Northern Territory, Victoria, and South Australia are 34, 29, and 28 respectively.

It also includes 23 defence projects from Western Australia.

The projects are expected to create up to 1,660 construction jobs in the next year. It will also benefit local businesses where the bases are located.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “These facilities are often in regional parts of Australia, meaning small and medium businesses in these areas get the chance to play a vital role in the upgrade and maintenance of our defence facilities.”

Earlier this month, Australia unveiled a long-term plan to expand its defence personnel by nearly 30%, by 2040.