UPDATE 5.40PM: Labor Candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton has responded to claims a Labor Government would not support the $190 million committed to upgrades at Shoalwater Bay. 

"Labor is committed to a bipartisan approach to national security and defence matters and we are broadly supportive of the Defence White Paper," she said. 

"Labor supports the commitment to improving and upgrading the Defence estate taken in the White Paper to ensure Australia maintains a regionally superior ADF - this includes upgrading a number of ADF training areas such as Shoalwater Bay.

"Labor believes it is important that this significant investment in Defence estate brings the greatest possible benefit to the local community including local industry and small business.

"A Shorten Labor Government would take advice from Defence on any future infrastructure and estate management requirements across Australia including in Queensland."

EARLIER: WITH almost $200 million in the balance, Shoalwater Bay became a political battle ground today as the fight for the seat of Capricornia intensifies. 

Assistant defence minister Michael McCormack flew into Rockhampton today to tour the training facility with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.

In February, the Federal Government's Defence White Paper revealed $190 million investment in the training facility over the next 20 years.

"It is an important training facility used by all three arms of the defence," he said.

"It's also important for local jobs, local investment and to enhance the capabilities of our defence force for the amphibious and land combat areas.

"It is one of the unique areas for training in Australia and it's right here in Central Queensland."

Mr McCormack said the investment was a key part of national security.

He said the funds promised for Shoalwater Bay could "all be at risk" if Labor was elected this year.

"They put defence spending back to 1938 levels as a proportion of GDP," he said.  

"We're putting it back to where it ought to be, 2% of gross domestic product."

The Morning Bulletin is seeking a response from Labor candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton. 



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