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Gladstone locals can tender for $2.2billion CQ military deal

UNDER a new deal between the Australian and Singaporean governments, up to $1 billion will be spent in Capricornia to upgrade defence infrastructure, roads and hi-tech military hardware centred on operations at Shoalwater Bay, north of Rockhampton.

A further $1 billion will spent in Townsville and while it may seem unfair that Flynn has missed out on this opportunity, there are no defence facilities located in the electorate.

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd welcomed the announcement, saying it was not just a win for Capricornia but also Flynn.

"We have seen a drop-off in local construction and this investment gives our local contractors a great opportunity to tender on what is a huge project," Mr O'Dowd said.

"The benefits of this investment will be seen well beyond the project sites."

Both seats are marginally held by the National Party.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said Singapore will now stage two training exercises a year and more than double the number of military personnel (to 14,000) will visit the region annually --- boosting retail and tourism spending.

"In a time when CQ is suffering a major mining downturn and in need of a jobs boost, the spins off for potential new employment opportunities, business and construction contracts, retail spending and tourism could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to local businesses over time," she said.

"I have been pushing hard for more defence-related spending in Capricornia and this announcement is the fruition of long negotiations with Singapore. This is truly one of the most extraordinary deals to directly benefit our local economy that we will see."

Singapore defence already spends on average $35 million a year in Capricornia for its Exercise Wallaby.

"The spin off for contractors and local business is huge, if they want to engage with the Singapore visitors," Ms Landry said.

It's understood the $1 billion will be used to upgrade and construct new training and live fire combat zones, upgrades and resurfacing of roads, airfields and other facilities.

Ms Landry said the deal with Singapore centred on negotiations on a par with free trade deals with Korea, Japan and China.

Further to this the federal government will set up an Austrade arm with Singapore to support the development of trade and investment in the northern Australia.

"If industries have investment opportunities, Austrade can help them develop ties with Singapore that may lead to new and profitable exports, including here in Central Queensland," Ms Landry said.

Start dates were not disclosed but the upgrade is expected to begin by the end of the year and will be rolled out over many more years to come.



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