Rocky Mayor’s push for increased defence activity in region

WE'RE ready; documents and all.

That was the strong message Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow wanted the upper tiers of government to know.

She joined council's economic development manager Rick Palmer and Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne last week to discuss potential increases in defence activity in the region.

"The timing is right to continue these discussions with key representatives and advocates ... our region is the focal point for the largest joint-forces exercise in the country," she said.

The council recently made submissions to the Northern Australian White Paper and the Military White Paper.

The White Paper submission identified six key recommendations to help the region become a strong defence hub including: developing a discrete military precinct at the Rockhampton Airport and relocating a squadron of the Armoured Cavalry Regiment to Parkhurst.

Other recommendations the council made were: to construct a storage precinct in Rockhampton for units operating in the Shoalwater Bay Training area, using Port Alma for the importation of bulk explosive ordinance, using Rockhampton Airport as a replacement helicopter base in place of Oakey, and more involvement in Australia's growing amphibious activity.

Cr Strelow said the region had been closely associated with the defence force for more than 150 years.

"Our location gives us a strategic reach to Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and also to other countries located in the South-West Pacific.

"Coupled with our airport's capacity for various transport options, close proximity to the Gladstone Port and Shoal Water Bay, Rockhampton is the future for defence."



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