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North Queensland woman battle over praise for Singapore military impact

North Queensland woman

North Queensland woman battle for regional status while property owners settle with Defence

North Queensland woman, leading their respective regional councils in a political and economic battle, are ostensibly claiming the spoils from the Singapore Military Training Initiative in a desperate bid to stimulate their economies and win leadership status.

North Queensland Senator Ian MacDonald, together with the Assistant Minister for Defence, Senator David Fawcett, announced in a joint press statement that the Department of Defence has settled with landowners in the Greenvale area North-west of Townsville to establish a training area as part of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI).

However, the Mayor of Townsville in an official statement on the Council’s website has claimed that Greenvale is in the Townsville region, while the Mayor of Charters Towers claims Greenvale is in the Charters Towers region.

While the local government boundary lines are clear, the battle lines have become rather blurry indeed in the race for political and economic glory.

The economic and political stakes are high for all of these women leaders.

All regional economies in Queensland are struggling in a trading and investment climate where mining and manufacturing are under attack by environmental groups and where a State government has become driven by an extreme green agenda.

North Queensland and Central Queensland Mayors in fierce battle for regional economic projects
North Queensland and Central Queensland Mayors – (left to right) Rockhampton Mayor Cr Margaret Strelow, Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill and Charters Towers Mayor Cr Liz Schmidt

Coalition Senators break the Singapore military training news

Nevertheless, 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.

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.

Greenvale Land owners secure sale contracts with Australian-Singapore Military

Townsville Mayor economic claims unfounded

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has welcomed an expected boost to the Townsville economy. Cr Hill said; “The Defence Department has told us Singapore will inject around $1 billion into the Townsville region during the initiative.”

The Greenvale site however is 250 kilometres north-west of Townsville covering approximately 200,000 hectares is located in the Charter Towers region.

Charters Towers Mayor, Cr Liz Schmidt identified an agreement with the Minister for Defence Marise Payne, that “the requirement is that they come and look in our regional council area first for the services and goods and contractors they need, before going elsewhere.Our Chamber is working on how that might happen”, Cr Schmidt said.

Cr Schmidt stated the setting of the land would give military vehicles double road train access between Greenvale and the ADF base at Shoalwater Bay, plus triple road train access from the Port of Townsville.

Townsville Mayor beaten to the punch

Charters Towers Council has jurisdiction of the geographical area in which the Greenvale training area will be located.

Yet the Townsville Mayor is also claiming jurisdiction over the region, despite the fact the majority of investment will occur in the Charter Towers and Rockhampton regions from construction through to operations, drawing on services within the region in which the facility is located.

The political mileage of such a significant economic initiative has exposed strong competition between neighbouring councils.

Just as the Adani project created a one upmanship situation between the embattled Townsville Mayor and her Rockhampton counterpart, Cr Margaret Strelow. And just like the economic benefit of Adani, the main base for the Australia-Singapore training initiative will occur at Shoalwater Bay in a region outside of Townsville.

Major Projects Feasibility Ranking: $22 Billion Investments in Townsville North Queensland

The economic impact on Townsville will be generated through existing infrastructure and service capabilities at the Townsville Port, and is likely to cause a welcome but minor boost to employment and business benefits. Therefore, negligible impacts on the property market in the Townsville region can be anticipated.

Tennacious as they are, these North Queensland and Central Queensland woman have formed a clear battleground in political circles. It may even be a useful smokescreen of effective leadership at the next election.

But the results of material economic and social benefits to the regions will determine the real claimant of victory on all fronts.

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Aaron M, Editior
Aaron is the founder and editor of TREN eMagazine with 15 years experience in the real estate industry investing and helping investors seek value, leverage value and capitalise on value, developing professional and technical skills and capabilities that have enabled his success in business from startups, adoption, asset growth, management and community leadership projects. Aaron also loves travelling, sports, his partner Jodie and helping people discover their "why" and find their few "what's" in life that realise the "wows. The " www" in is one of his why, what and wow's that strive to add valuable content and analysis for readers to participate and win.

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