Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry MP met with local government and business leaders in Rockhampton today to discuss the opportunities stemming from the new Singapore Military Training Agreement that will see the number of Singaporean forces training in Australia more than double.
Minister Payne said the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Military Training and Training Area Development signed last month gives priority to local businesses around Shoalwater Bay Training Area, in support of both phases of development and the ongoing training activities, boosting regional jobs and growth.
"This is an important outcome of the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that will increase Singapore Armed Forces training in Australia, generating significant local economic activity over the next 25 years," Minister Payne said.
“The Memorandum of Understanding allows for up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to conduct unilateral training in Australia for up to 18 weeks per year, up from the current provision of up to 6600 personnel over six weeks.”
The initiative includes substantial upgrades to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townsville Field Training Area.
While in Rockhampton Minister Payne and Ms Landry were briefed on the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and the proposed upgrades.
Ms Landry said the Singapore agreement presented a unique opportunity for local business.
“There is an opportunity for construction, supply, maintenance, tourism, and our retail and hospitality sectors over a long term period,” Ms Landry said.
“I have already set up a local business committee (the Capricornia Business Advisory Alliance) to drive the needs and desires of the region’s business sector in regard to Singapore over the next five years.
“And I am pleased that senior Australian defence personnel are playing an active role in our region to keep the community up to date on aspects of the MOU arrangements.”
Ms Landry said while the Singapore investment in the region won’t happen over night, it would provide a long term consistent boost to the Rockhampton and Yeppoon economies.
“What is essential is that all three local shires and associated key business groups work as a united body for the good of our region to achieve the best outcomes from the opportunities that Singapore currently presents.”
Ms Landry said Defence has begun engaging with community groups and will continue to do so over the coming months, with a dedicated Queensland community liaison officer providing business and the community with timely updates on the implementation.
Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
Christopher Lawson (Michelle Landry’s office)0418 908 159
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999