Monday, May 27, 2024

Councils welcome state government support of ADF hub expansion

Rockhampton Regional Council and Livingstone Shire Council have welcomed the State Government’s support for Central Queensland to become a larger Defence Industry hub.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently announced that lease arrangements had been secured at Shoalwater Bay to allow 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to train between there and Townsville.

Rockhampton Mayor, Tony Williams said the announcement also highlighted Central Queensland’s capacity to become a larger hub for the Defence Industry.

“It’s really pleasing to join Mayor Ireland in supporting the State and Federal Governments to bring more SAF personnel to our regions,” Mayor Williams said.

“We have a relationship with Singapore stretching back more than three decades and we look forward to welcoming thousands more troops here annually as part of Exercise Wallaby to not only train at Shoalwater Bay but to enjoy their RnR here in Rockhampton and Livingstone.

“As part of that announcement it was pleasing to see the spotlight put on the potential of Rockhampton Airport to growing Central Queensland’s Defence Industry and I look forward to working with our neighbouring councils, state and federal governments to welcome more visiting troops here as we continue efforts to secure a permanent Australian Defence Force presence in our region.”

Livingstone Shire Mayor, Andy Ireland said the ADF’s Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area had been fantastic for the shire and the wider Central Queensland region.

“We have a strong and long-standing relationship with the Australian Defence Force and their allies and welcome the ongoing economic benefits that flow to our local businesses and contractors from military presence in the region,” Mayor Ireland said.

Meanwhile, the Talisman ‘Sabre’ has been drawn in Townsville for Australia’s largest bilateral training activity with the United States.

Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS21) is conducted every two years with the United States Defence Force and a number of other nations.

This year, Townsville is playing an important part of the activity, with military personnel setting off from Lavarack Barracks. 

Commander 3rd Brigade Brigadier Kahlil Fegan said his forces were ready to hit the ground running with their foreign military partners after the exercise began on July 14.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre is strategically important because it’s an opportunity to train with one of our key coalition partners, the United States, in an environment that prepares Australian forces for high-end warfighting,” Brigadier Fegan said.

“It’s an opportunity for our soldiers – from our senior officers right through to our newest soldiers – to operate with foreign soldiers and understand how they work so if we ever have to work together in a contested environment, we can. 

“This year we’ll have the great pleasure of being able to train with a number of other nations in our own backyard up in the Townsville Field Training Area, up in the ranges.”

Private Jesse Stroud from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, prepares equipment at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, prior to deploying on Exercise Talisman Sabre (Photo: Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Schwenke).

Explaining the exercise scenario for his soldiers, Brigadier Fegan said, in simple terms, it was about helping Australia’s neighbours. 

“Our part of the exercise is based around the scenario whereby a fictitious foreign country, offshore to Australia, is dealing with a situation where an enemy force has manifested,” he said.

“As a result, the Australian Government has been asked to send in forces to help deal with that threat and restore that particular nation to normal government and governance. 

“So that’s the scenario we are dealing with this year. It is exceptionally complex. 

“There’s a lot of detail in it, and that makes the challenge of what we’ll be doing with it very exciting.”

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