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Premier's push for military base in Rockhampton

REGIONAL BOOST: The 31st MEU land at Shoalwater Bay. Premier Campbell Newman wants the Australian Defence Force to set up a permanent base in our region.
REGIONAL BOOST: The 31st MEU land at Shoalwater Bay. Premier Campbell Newman wants the Australian Defence Force to set up a permanent base in our region. Allan Reinikka

PREMIER Campbell Newman on Friday positioned his coordinates for a permanent Australian Army base on a site close to home - the Rockhampton region.

In a push that had previously been championed by former Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter, Mr Newman said Rockhampton Regional Council, Livingstone Shire Council and the State Government could work to encourage the Australian Defence Force to set up a permanent army base in this region.

"Townsville has benefited from that and I'm more than happy to say publicly that I am sure the council and the state would work together to make it happen," he said.

Mr Newman's comments came as he was speaking about the possibility of relocating a government department to a regional centre like Rockhampton as part of his government's Queensland Plan.

Asked the likelihood of Rockhampton becoming the headquarter site for a department, Mr Newman said the Queensland Plan vision was for a "decentralised model".

However he pointed out other regions were also eyeing off government departments and any potential move would be a long-term undertaking.

"Under the Queensland Plan, we would like to see government departments relocated to Rockhampton but there are other regional communities with the same view," Mr Newman said.

Acting Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams said the council wanted to see a military precinct at the Rockhampton Airport.

"The airport complements the Western St defence depot and supports the Shoalwater Bay training exercise," he said.

"The airport played a vital role in military exercises for the country and serviced the logistical and operational needs of military exercises at Shoalwater Bay, the nation's leading military training facility ... this last financial year, more than 10,000 troops used airport facilities."

Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig said the coast council was looking to push its case for a facility to service military vehicles in its industry park precinct.

More so near the Bondoola-end of the 56-hectare industry park precinct.

Cr Ludwig said that area was a perfect site to build a military vehicle services depot because it was near a "blue route" that military personnel could use to access Shoalwater Bay.

On top of that, Cr Ludwig said a services depot would create many jobs for local civilians and specialists.

"We have got a world-class facility here ... there's no reason to not have a service industry," he said.

"A lot of that work would be done by civilians training at TAFE or university."

Topics:  campbell newman, premier, rockhampton




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