Qld inks deal for Singapore troop training

·2-min read

Thousands of Singaporean troops will train in Queensland after the state inked a land lease deal with the federal government.

Queensland will lease land at Greenvale, northwest of Townsville, and at Shoalwater Bay, north of Rockhampton, to the Commonwealth for 25 years.

A new base at Greenvale and an expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area will be used for the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative.

The two bases will host 14,000 Singaporean troops, for 18 weeks at a time, every year until 2046.

The Department of Defence said Singapore will jointly invest in the new facilities, which Australian troops will use as well.

"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," a Defence spokesperson said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuzk did not say how much the individual lease agreements were worth.

However, she said the construction and servicing of the Greenvale site would be worth $36 million annually until 2046.

Ms Palaszczuk said it would create 590 construction jobs and 150 ongoing jobs.

"Our defence industry has great potential for growth in central and north Queensland," the premier said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We're working hard to grow this sector to rebuild our economy and create opportunities for locals."

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke hinted the Rockhampton Airport could eventually became a hub for the defence industry.

Under Singapore's laws all male citizens and second-generation permanent residents are conscripted for two years' national service between the ages of 18 and 40.

After that most re-enter civilian life, and Resources Minister Scott Stewart said training Singaporeans in Queensland could have future trade and investment benefits.

"A lot of the Singaporeans that will come will actually be future business people," he told reporters.

"So when they actually get to see the opportunities that exist here in north Queensland; I think what this does is set up more than just a training facility, this is an investment into long term trade agreements."

Construction is already underway at Shoalwater Bay, while work on the Greenvale facility will start in mid-2022.

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