Military keep rates low
SINGAPORE'S armed forces are paying $1 million a year to store military equipment at Rockhampton Airport.
The tiny state, which each year sends thousands of troops to the city for training exercises, has agreed to a 192% hike in the fees it pays to the regional council to lease a compound at the airport.
Mayor Brad Carter said yesterday revenue from the airport's various commercial activities was helping to keep rates down.
"This is another good example of the commercial value of Rockhampton's military ties," he said.
"With the annual Singaporean exercises spread over three or four months, the benefit to the council and the business economy is plain to see.
"The troops are here for a long time and they spend a lot of money here.
"Each year the economic impact of the link increases."
He said that there were no adverse impacts from having foreign troops in the city for an extended period and the cultural ties were also growing.
The airport is expected to boost the council's income by $4 million this year with the Singaporean lease and paid parking each contributing about $1 million.
The rest comes from landing fees and other commercial activities such as the leasing of franchises within the terminal.
Cr Carter said revenue from the airport went into the council's general revenue fund but it could be earmarked for specific projects so ratepayers could more clearly see the financial benefits.
In previous years Primary Industry (Queensland), which leases the storage compound on behalf of Singapore, paid a lower fee to reflect its capital investment in buildings on the site.
The initial low-lease period expired this year and it is being charged the full commercial value of the lease.