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Point Wilson Waterside Infrastructure Remediation

This project involves the rehabilitation of marine facilities at the Point Wilson Explosives Area (PWEA), located on the western shore of Port Phillip Bay near Geelong.

The facilities comprise a 2.5km long approach jetty, wharf and amenities building, which are used to import explosive ordnance for the Australian Defence Forces. The jetty and wharf were constructed in the early 1960s and have deteriorated to the point where Defence has considered them to be inoperable until remediation works are complete.

The primary objective of the project is to provide the most cost effective and timely solution to return the waterside infrastructure to operational status, in order to allow Defence to recommence explosive ordnance importation activities.

A second objective of the project involves the safe mooring and berthing of the Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) at Point Wilson for ammunitioning and deammunitioning activities. It is proposed that the LHD will be in service in 2014. At 231m in length, it will be the largest vessel within the Royal Australian Navy fleet.

As the Managing Contractor, Leighton Contractor’s role was to manage the planning phase of the project, during which various options for rehabilitation and repair were evaluated in detail. A second phase, yet to be approved, is to manage the construction of the rehabilitation works.

The key task is the preparation of the necessary technical evidence required by Defence to complete a strategic, detailed business case, in order to gain the necessary department, government and parliamentary approvals.

The planning phase is due for completion in July 2014.

An Environmental Focus

Government approvals processes were critical to the project proceeding to program. The explosive area forms part of the Point Wilson Defence Natural Area, which is Commonwealth Heritage listed, primarily for its wetland and saltmarsh heritage value. If the external regulator [the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC)], had determined the project was a ‘controlled action’ requiring formal assessment, this could have resulted in significant impact to project program and cost.

Leighton Contractors’ response set out to DSEWPaC that the design and construction methodology had taken an environmentally sensitive approach to minimise contamination and recognise the needs and habits of migratory, threatened and listed fauna. The approach combined careful planning with the monitoring of all activities, and included maximising the use of prefabricated components, a site layout that took account of sensitive areas, and equipment selection on the basis of minimising environmental impact.

DSEWPaC was satisfied that the methodology had taken all steps to minimise impact, and that the project could proceed as a ‘non-controlled action’.

“Leighton Contractors has epitomised the high standards expected of a contractor when working for Defence. Their thorough investigations, dedicated stakeholder engagement and diligent approach to project outputs were all first class. I have found Leighton to be collaborative, dynamic and in the very top echelon of those organisations with whom I have worked.”

Lieutenant James Brownlie
South East Program Director, Defence Support and Reform Group
Point Wilson Infrastructure Remediation Project