The Palaszczuk Government has struck a deal to secure land for training of Australian and Singaporean military personnel in North and Central Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said growing Queensland’s burgeoning industry sector was an important part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
The Premier said the leasing arrangements for land at Greenvale and Shoalwater Bay have been finalised – paving the way for the government to create almost 600 new jobs.
“This base will inject millions of dollars into our economy and create local jobs,” the Premier said.
“Our defence industry has great potential for growth in Central and North Queensland. We’re working hard to grow this sector to rebuild our economy and create opportunities for locals.
“Investing in new, job-creating infrastructure is at the core of our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“I want to see shovels in the ground on new projects that will create jobs and stabilise our economy. That’s why we’re working hard to fast-track more initiatives like this one.”
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said after nearly four years of negotiations with the Australian Government, the Queensland Government had finally secured the land required to deliver a training base in North Queensland.
“The Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative will bring up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to Queensland every year for 25 years, training for 18 weeks each time and spending money in our local communities while they do,” he said.
“Construction of the Greenvale facility will provide a boost of over $36 million to the North Queensland economy every year of its operation, providing good, secure local jobs that will drive the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
Work will now proceed transforming the sites into state-of-the-art training facilities that will help hone soldiers’ skills as part of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative.
“This complex land project sets the foundations for long-lasting economic benefits, which will continue to serve Queenslanders for generations to come,” said Minister Stewart.
“The 302,000-hectare Greenvale site will be developed into an advanced Military Training Area 200km northwest of Townsville.
“This milestone is the culmination of extensive consultation and planning between the Australian Department of Defence, the Palaszczuk Government, traditional owners of the land, land holders, and local councils.
“More than 70 land tenure dealings have been processed to support the initiative.
“It will bring around 590 new jobs during development and up to 150 permanent jobs across Queensland when the facilities are operational.”
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said this project is important for Townsville.
“Mundingburra is home to Lavarack Barracks and Defence personnel are such an important part of the community,” Mr Walker said.
“Townsville has a proud and long military history and the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative will continue this legacy.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the Defence community was an important part of Townsville and North Queensland.
“It’s great to be part of a government that supports this exciting initiative which will create hundreds of jobs for people in the region,” Mr Harper said.
Major construction works are already underway for the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, north of Rockhampton.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said it is imperative local people and businesses benefited from the expansion.
“The Palaszczuk Government is focused on economic recovery and that’s why we support job creating projects,” she said.
Mr O’Rourke said Rockhampton Airport, which the State Government was investing in, could become a bigger hub for the Defence industry in Central Queensland.
“Through the COVID Works for Queensland program we’re investing $6.44 million in the airport as it’s a vital piece of infrastructure not just for residents and visitors but also for the Defence industry.”
A Department of Defence spokesperson said under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative, Singapore will invest in Australia’s development and enhancement of training areas to meet the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and support an increased presence of Singapore Armed Forces personnel training in Australia.
“Defence is committed to implementing the Initiative in a way that enhances the economic benefits for communities and provides opportunities for local industries in North and Central Queensland across the life of the Initiative.”
Construction of the Greenvale facility is projected to commence mid-2022.