A Senate committee has told the Department of Defence to review its communication and co-ordination mechanisms, following a report into the acquisition of land in the Townsville, Shoalwater Bay and Rockhampton regions.
The foreign affairs, defence and trade references Senate committee recommended Defence abandon plans to compulsorily acquire farmland in the Queensland regions and review its mechanisms to ensure the most effective flow of information to landowners.
Defence has also been told information about upcoming training exercises should be disseminated to the local community with as much advance notice as possible; and that a contact point regarding local exercises is available on an ongoing basis.
Defence is acquiring land in the Queensland regions for training areas for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and as part of its $2.2 billion Military Training Agreement with Singapore.
The initiative will see the delivery of enhanced training areas in central and north Queensland for the growth and development of the ADF, and will provide support to Australia’s bilateral defence relationship with Singapore.
Development is anticipated to start in 2019 and finish in 2026.
The Senate committee also recommended Defence make information about expenditure in the area available to local communities, that an independent economic impact assessment of the loss of rateable land in the proposed expansion areas be prepared, and formal mechanisms for communication that may generate potential business opportunities in local areas be reviewed.