The final negotiations for the $2.25 billion Singapore defence deal are happening now.
The final negotiations for the $2.25 billion Singapore defence deal are happening now.

Defence deal close to done

THE final negotiations are under way for the $2.25 billion Singapore defence deal.

A meeting between State Government and Department of Defence officials was last week to finalise negotiations over the deal.

The Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative will involve about 14,000 Singaporean soldiers training for 14 weeks a year for 25 years, and is expected to inject about a billion dollars into the North Queensland economy during its course.

A Department of State Development spokeswoman said the meeting held last week, continued discussions about the value of lease fees that would be paid to the state.

"The Commonwealth is liable to pay this to the state, and the state is negotiating to plough those funds into improvements that will benefit the region," she said.

"The Queensland Government is working closely with the Department of Defence to progress negotiations." It is understood the Department of Defence's negotiations are ongoing with the traditional owners for the Greenvale site.

"We understand that the Department of Defence is in the process of acquiring relevant properties from leaseholders, and already has an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with traditional owners for the Shoalwater Bay area," the spokeswoman said.

Townsville Enterprise chief executive Patricia O'Callaghan said throughout its life, the initiative would bring economic opportunities for the region.

"Tourism, retail and hospitality for example will be in demand as Singapore Armed Forces personnel will have time post-training to explore the local area," she said.

"This investment will act as a catalyst to explore broader opportunities between Townsville and Singapore in other sectors, including agriculture, education, tourism and health, as well as enhance Defence's bilateral relationship with Singapore.

"Building a case for a direct connection between Singapore and Townsville is a key priority for local stakeholders and we are engaging with the relevant airlines in regards to this."

While visiting Townsville ahead of regional parliament, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the State Government was in its final stages of formalising the deal with the Federals Government.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said more than 80 per cent of work for the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area would be locally sourced.

"Local Industry Capability Plan requirements will also apply at Greenvale and it is anticipated there will be significant local industry involvement in the development of this training area," she said.



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