Launceston’s Paterson Barracks will be closed and $5 million spent to build new facilities at the larger Youngtown Barracks.
In Launceston on Monday morning, Defence Minister Marise Payne announced the historic Paterson Barracks on St John Street would be revitalised and public accessibility increased.
“Following the development of the city deal – what defence is beginning to do is to transition the current involvement that’s here at Paterson Barracks to new, and to be developed facilities at Youngtown,” she said.
The existing cadet groups that use the Paterson Barracks will be transitioned to the new facilities.
But Senator Payne acknowledged it would take some time for the transition to be complete.
“We’re at the very beginning of the process,” she said.
“It will take us a little while to do the development and the arrangements there so we’re talking three to five years before the cadets are finally fully operational there.
“We want to make sure they’re well supported.”
She said once the transition process began the future of the Paterson Barracks would become clearer.
“There’s probably more ideas than any of us can count and that’s the most important part of this,” she said.
The Commissariat Building at Paterson Barracks, built in 1828, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Launceston.
Many of its spaces are empty, and only classrooms remain.
Also on the Paterson Barracks site is a drill hall, soldiers’ mess and 6th/13th Light Battery unit.
Senator Payne said the character of Paterson Barracks should be preserved and “part of the ongoing vibrancy of the City of Launceston”.
It was also announced the Defence will provide $250,000 to the University of Tasmania to support the development of a business case for a Defence Innovation and Design Precinct.
The investment will be matched by an additional $125,000 each from the Tasmanian state government and the University of Tasmania.
Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor said the government would look into opportunities for the Paterson Barracks site to deliver wider economic benefits to Launceston.
"I welcome the opportunity for this important inner city parcel of land to be included in Launceston's updated city master plan, and for any potential development to form a part of the Launceston City Deal," he said.
"City Deals are living, strategic plans backing the interests of the local community.
“Over the longer term, the City Deal will help position Launceston as one of Australia's most liveable and innovative regional cities."
City of Launceston Mayor Albert Van Zetten said the Paterson Barracks site held a special place in the city's history.
"We welcome the opportunity to commence work on an updated integrated plan for our central city area, inviting the local community to have its say on any future redevelopment of the precinct," he said.