SA ready for new battalion

January 19, 2011 - 5:39PM

AAP

A new army battalion for Adelaide will inject $107 million into the South Australian economy, Premier Mike Rann says.

Mr Rann said the Edinburgh Park defence precinct in Adelaide's north had undergone a $750 million transformation ahead of next week's arrival of the 7th Royal Australian Regiment battle group.

The battalion will start operating from the base with more than 550 soldiers.

The number of soldiers at the base would grow to 700 by the end of this year, the premier said.

"The 7RAR battalion, along with other elements of army's 1 brigade, will continue to grow in line with army planning to reach 1100 personnel by 2014," Mr Rann said on Wednesday.

"We campaigned for this battalion to be relocated to Adelaide, because it consolidates our position as the defence state.

"(It) is expected to inject an additional $107 million into the state economy this year with up to 1900 people including partners and children, integrating into the northern suburbs."

Mr Rann said about $1.5 billion was being pumped into defence infrastructure in SA by government and industry.

Defence Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon said relocating the battalion from Darwin to Adelaide, where it was previously combined with 5RAR, made sense.

"The government took the view and Defence took the view it was in our best interests to reform 7RAR," Mr Snowdon told reporters in Adelaide.

Land was acquired by the federal government from the SA government to extend the defence base in Edinburgh and the construction of facilities at the base, including accommodation had gone well, Mr Snowdon said.

About 400 single accommodation beds were close to completion and married quarters had been boosted in Adelaide by Defence Housing Australia.

The Darwin-based 5RAR would continue to share training facilities with the new battalion across both states.

"It's a way in which we allocate our forces across the country for our best strategic outcome," Mr Snowdon said.

© 2011 AAP