Proposed expansion for Shoalwater Bay.
Proposed expansion for Shoalwater Bay. Contributed ROK301116Shoalwater1

Shoalwater Bay training expansion set to begin in 2019

LIVE fire activities will be undertaken at Shoalwater Bay once an expansion of the training site is complete.

The Department of Defence this week confirmed the site would be expanded as part of a move to increase the number of unilateral training exercises with the Singapore Armed Forces from six to 18 weeks annually.

According to the department, the expansion of the Byfield site will allow forces to conduct a range of different training, including live fire activities involving "a combination of weapon types”.

The expansion is part of a $1 billion deal with Singapore announced in May.

The investment will see the country upgrade infrastructure, roads and high-tech military hardware around Shoalwater Bay and double the number of personnel training in Central Queensland to 14,000 annually.

Public notices in The Morning Bulletin mapped the proposed changes as part of the expansion late last week.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the department would hold one on one information sessions with locals about the expansion.

"Representatives from the Department of Defence will be in Marlborough to meet with landowners and leaseholders whose properties fall within the potential expansion zone of Shoalwater Bay,” Ms Landry said.

"It's a long term process, but defence is keen to be open as possible, so that local property owners are fully aware of future plans for the area and have the opportunity to ask questions.”

Singapore already spends an average of $35 million in Capricornia on accommodation, hospitality, local contractors and recreational retail and tourism during the annual Exercise Wallaby.

Under the new agreement, two exercises are set to be held from February to May and August to November.

This extra access will be in place for the next 25 years, with Singapore's training presence set to increase from next year.

The increase in both personnel and military equipment bought to Australia is exptected to progressively increase as infrastructure is upgraded and facilities built.

While the expansion of Shoalwater Bay is not listed for a specific exercise, the department said it was expected to start in 2019.

The department said community engagement was "a high priority”, with communication already underway with affected landowners and leaseholders.

Private appointments can be booked in at Marlborough Hall, 21 Milman St, from December 7 to 9

Appointments can be arranged via email at singapore.training @defence.gov.au or by calling 02 6266 8292.



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