The Minister for Defence, the Hon Marise Payne and her counterpart Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen visited Townsville and met with local government and business leaders today.
The visit to Townsville was part of the visit of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his delegation to Australia, during which Minister Payne and Minister Ng signed a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Military Training and Training Area Development.
The Memorandum of Understanding allows for up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to conduct unilateral Army training in Australia for up to 18 weeks per year.
Minister Payne and Dr Ng received a briefing on plans to accommodate the increased training activity, which includes the upgrading of the Townsville Field Training Area and Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
Key community stakeholders were also briefed on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding.
As part of the memorandum, priority will be given to local businesses around Townsville Field Training Area and Shoalwater Bay Training Area, in support of both the phases of development and the ongoing training activities, boosting regional jobs and growth.
Defence anticipates that there will be local opportunities in the construction, logistics support, retail and tourism sectors.
About $2 billion will be invested in the training areas to support the increased training activity over the next decade.
Defence will begin engaging with community groups next month and will appoint a dedicated community liaison officer in Queensland to ensure business and the community receive timely updates on the implementation.
Singapore’s training presence will begin to increase from 2017. As this presence increases, the demand for support services and opportunities for local businesses will expand.
Defence will provide an Initial Business Case on the upgrades to Government in 2017 and construction will commence from 2019.
Henry Budd (Senator Payne's office) 0429 531 143
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999