Department of Defence Shoalwater Bay

Department of Defence Training Area Remediation Project

Melanie Dixon March 26, 2022

Applied Environment & Safety has continued to provide Environmental Advisor support for the Department of Defence Shoalwater Bay Training Area remediation project. This $125 million project managed by Downer and FKG as a joint venture involves upgrades to key infrastructure and facilities within the training area to allow for sustainable ongoing military use while maintaining the environmental values of the area.

This Training Area covers over 454,000 hectares of diverse landscapes and marine environments in central Queensland. It is located within protected areas including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World Heritage Area and Shoalwater and Corio Bays Ramsar Wetlands. As well as various areas of protected flora and fauna habitat. 

Key construction upgrades include rebuild of the Urban Operations Training Facility consisting of a mock city with full-scale buildings and structures. As well as airfield upgrades with an additional aeromedical evacuation landing zone; construction of a new field hospital; road upgrades and new beach landings; and extensive creek crossing upgrades throughout the training area.  

Given the significant environmental sensitivities of the project area, compliance with regulatory and client requirements and implementation of environmental best practice is the highest priority. 

Our responsibilities on this remediation project included obtaining pre-work environmental clearance certificates, mapping extents of vegetation clearing, providing advice for site rehabilitation, and monitoring ongoing environmental compliance against project requirements. We worked closely with key stakeholders including Department of Defence Environmental Officers, civil and landscaping contractors, and specialist consultants to facilitate project delivery. 

A primary deliverable for Applied Environment & Safety was to map the extent of vegetation clearing required for creek crossing upgrades throughout the Training Area. This involved working with civil contractors and project engineers at each site to capture the disturbance footprint. This mapping was compiled and provided to the Department of Defence for approval of the works.

Now during completion of the project, we are assisting with the closure of the environmental clearance certificates and providing advice on rehabilitation requirements. This includes permanent sediment and erosion controls and hydro-mulching.

Our secondment into this complex multifaceted project presented the challenge of acquiring an understanding of the project’s issues, stakeholders involved and environmental requirements within a short timeframe. However, by taking a proactive approach to engage with stakeholders to understand project expectations and application of our technical knowledge and construction experience, the project has been successfully supported to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. 

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