The Department of Defence has settled with willing sellers and will establish a training area near Greenvale in North Queensland as part of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI).
Assistant Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon David Fawcett said securing the land would provide certainty to the community and industry that the training area is going ahead.
“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.
“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.”
Negotiation with landowners in both locations for the project is expected to continue throughout 2019.
“I would like to personally thank the landholders and community members of North and Central Queensland for their goodwill and patience throughout this process,” Minister Fawcett said.
“We understand the impact this has on people’s lives and businesses, which is why we have negotiated transition arrangements with graziers to allow them sufficient time to relocate and establish themselves elsewhere.
“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.
“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.”
Northern-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 training military training area.
The ASMTI is delivering enhanced training areas in Central and North Queensland which will benefit the Australian Defence Force (ADF), provide significant local economic opportunities and enhance Australia’s bilateral defence relationship with Singapore.
Singapore is investing AU$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.
“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.