Warehouse on hold in cash freeze

MILLIONS of dollars that should have flowed to Albury-Wodonga for a military warehouse project won’t be coming for at least 18 months.

Despite winning parliamentary approval in November, the project, to be managed by Joss Construction and John Holland, has been unexpectedly deferred — without public announcement.

Until November 30, the Defence Department’s official line was that the long-planned project, vital for national security, would start early this year.

But those involved were told last month the warehouse at Wadsworth Barracks in East Bandiana was off the agenda for now, with no money likely for it in the May budget.

A Joss Construction spokesman confirmed yesterday the company was told last month of the freeze but he would not comment further.

The massive project is the largest for the Border since the Volt Lane redevelopment.

The 10,000-square-metre warehouse is to be built between Whytes Road and a $27 million warehouse Joss completed in 2010.

Joss and John Holland are joint builders of the Wadsworth warehouse and even more substantial works at Moorebank barracks at Holsworthy, Sydney.

Both are parts of a $752 million program at six bases.

Defence parliamentary secretary David Feeney said in November that construction would start at Wadsworth, Moorebank and Lavarack early this year and the other elements by mid-year.

A few days later, Senator Feeney turned the first sod of another $870 million project at Moorebank for live-in accommodation, training and fitness — but not warehousing.

The logistics program, is supposed to save millions of dollars by reducing 201 warehouses at 24 sites to seven sites. Bandiana will be the largest after Moorebank.

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