The Department of Defence has settled property deals to establish a training area in North Queensland as part of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI).
Assistant Minister for Defence David Fawcett said securing the land would provide certainty to the community and industry that the training area is going ahead. Negotiations with landowners in both locations for the project is expected to continue throughout 2019.
"Land acquisition is well advanced at the Shoalwater Bay Area and we can establish an expansion area there with early works due to commence later this year. I am delighted we have reached this milestone after eight months of negotiations. This marks the continuation of a long and enduring relationship with the communities in north Queensland," Minister Fawcett said.
The Australia-Singapore defence relationship includes the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), which provides for the joint development of military training areas and facilities in Australia and Singapore to continue to exploit the benefits derived from the development of Exercise TRIDENT as the signature bilateral joint military exercise.
Northern Queensland-based senator Ian Macdonald said that the settlement of these properties is a positive step forward and will pave the way for establishing a new advanced military training area.
"Of the $2.25 billion, the Townsville region will see an investment of around $1 billion over the life of the initiative," Senator MacDonald said.
The CSP will enable Australia and Singapore to work together on defence science and technology, in areas including combat systems/command, control, communications, computers and intelligence integration; and cognitive/human systems integration.
"There are a number of other steps we need to complete before we can use the training areas and before we see Australian Defence Force or Singaporean Armed Forces personnel on the ground," Senator Fawcett explained.
The ASMTI is delivering enhanced training areas for the ADF in central and north Queensland, enhancing Australia’s bilateral defence relationship with Singapore and providing significant local economic opportunities.
"Defence will continue to engage with state and local governments and communities, as well as industry, to ensure they fully understand the initiative and the business opportunities available," Senator Fawcett added.
Singapore is investing $2.25 billion to establish a training area in Greenvale and expand Shoalwater Bay Training Area for their use. The training areas are Commonwealth property and the ADF will have priority use.
Over the life of the ASMTI, there will be an injection of about $2 billion into Queensland’s regional economies, including an estimated $50 million spent annually during the construction phase. For more information or to register for updates on the ASMTI program, click here.