ADF land deal ongoing despite rumours
THE Australian Defence Force's Singapore army land deal at Greenvale is still very much alive.
Charters Towers Mayor Liz Schmidt says it still has "legs" despite what some anonymous vested interests wanting to put pressure on the ADF are suggesting.
Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative business and community liaison officer Mick Reilly said the commercial negotiations with the Greenvale properties were "ongoing".
He said property agents were involved in the negotiations and talks were proceeding. If the Greenvale talks do reach an impasse, the focus on land would move to Ravenswood where station owners keen to take part in the negotiations have banded together.
Mr Reilly said no matter what happened at Greenvale, the ADF would invest in North Queensland.
Singaporean military officials accompanied by ADF officers have already visited Hillsborough, Mt Ravenswood and Old Glen Roy stations in the Ravenswood district.
Old Glen Roy and Mt Ravenswood are neighbouring properties which would guarantee a large land area if a transaction was to take place in this area.
Hillsborough Station, about 10km east of Ravenswood, is about 30km from Mt Ravenswood Station by road.
There are other properties in the Pentland area still thought to be in the mix, but nothing has been confirmed.
The joint Singapore-ADF initiative involves at least 14,000 Singapore troops training in central and North Queensland for 18 weeks a year for at least 25 years.
A KPMG report on the socio-economic impact of the initiative found that under the existing plan, Townsville and Rockhampton would benefit from the military initiative.
The report found Townsville would receive $143 million in additional investment expenditure during each year of the seven-year development phase. The KPMG report stated the operational phase - which is when soldiers start using the training facility - would happen in 2026.
During the life of the training facility, KPMG estimates that $36.2 million a year would be spent in Townsville.
Cr Schmidt said she had received a guarantee that Charters Towers would be the first port of call for all goods and services needed at the base. She said this would include everything from fruit and vegetables to earthworks, construction and machinery supplies.
"Under the terms of the acquisition both the Singapore and ADF have to give Charters Towers top priority when it comes to the supply of goods and services," she said. "This is because the training area regardless of if it is in Greenvale, Ravenswood or Pentland is still in the Charters Towers Regional Council area."
The final training plan has the soldiers rotating through in batches of 2000 and 4000.
Defence has made it clear that any land and infrastructure bought and built under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative would be owned by the Australian Government and would not be under Singaporean control.