UPGRADE NEEDED: Shoalwater Bay.
UPGRADE NEEDED: Shoalwater Bay. Allan Reinikka

No expansion of Shoalwater

AN expansion of the Shoalwater Bay military training area is not on the cards, the final report of the Defence Force Posture Review has found.

The report's authors, Allan Hawke and Ric Smith, found the training area, which hosts the nation's largest military training exercise every two years, was in need of an upgrade.

Upgrades to roads, new live fire areas, and a new "urban operations training facility", were needed to update the training facility for future increases in amphibious training, the authors found.

The report recognised that while Shoalwater Bay was the nation's premier training area, it had "little capacity for additional activity".

It already services the AADF's on-ground training needs, as well as Singapore and United States forces.

The report found that it would cost more than $2 billion to upgrade Shoalwater Bay to accommodate the Brisbane-base 7 Brigade, which is being moved to the Enoggera barracks instead.

There were several other barriers to expanding the facility, including environmental considerations being so close to the Great Barrier Reef.

The report also recommended more storage of Australian armoured vehicles at Shoalwater Bay, if movement between Enoggera and 7 Brigade's training areas became a problem.

"This pre-positioning approach would be similar to the Singapore Armed Forces' equipment storage arrangements in Rockhampton that facilitate its use of Shoalwater Bay Training Area," the report read.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith would not comment on budget specifics, including if the road upgrades would be funded in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The final report of the review of the ADF's geographical needs was released on Thursday.



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