Smooth transition on track for Townsville- bound battalion
TOWNSVILLE-bound soldiers a n d t h e i r f a m i l i e s a t Holsworthy Barracks are getting more excited about moving North as the time draws nearer with a survey showing they have become increasingly positive about the posting.
A welcoming committee inc l u d i n g B r i g a d i e r S t u a r t Smith, Lavarack Barracks red e v e l o p m e n t o f f i c e r L i e u t e n a n t - C o l o n e l J o h n Hathaway, Mayor Les Tyrell, Townsville Enterprise chairman John Bearne, Education Q u e e n s l a n d ’ s G e r a r d O’Connor, a Defence Housing representative and James Cook University’s Gerard Byrne visited the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment last week.
They were also joined by two soldiers and their wives who were able to give open and honest answers about Townsville’s defence community.
3RAR will be relocating to Townsville at the end of the year and the visit was one of many initiatives designed to give the soldiers and their families as much information as possible about their new home.
Lt-Col Hathaway said he was confident the battalion would settle in well in Townsville.
‘‘ We went in June and we ran a survey to get a demographic feel of what the battalion and their families felt about the move and then we ran another survey in February and it’s on the improve,’’ he said. ‘‘ The issue doesn’t seem to be coming to Townsville, they are pretty well sold on Townsville, it’s just what they are leaving behind in their family support base that’s tugging on the heart strings.
‘‘ We want to make sure their arrival is as smooth as possible so they can make new connections in the North Queensland community.
‘‘ We found a lot of the partners who were listening were shy to ask questions but in the break they were cornering the corporal and lance-corporal and their wives to ask questions.’’
Mr Byrne, the business development director at the university’s Faculty of Law, Business, and the Creative Arts said he hoped battalion members and their family members would show some interest in enrolling at the university.
‘‘ People tend to find studying at university a bit daunting but we wanted to let them know they can also do short courses, d i p l o m a a n d c e r t i f i c a t e courses,’’ he said.
‘‘ We could help if their partners need to do some study to i n c r e a s e t h e i r j o b opportunities.
‘‘ We’ve worked with the army for the last 40 years. We both s t a r t e d u p i n T o wn s v i l l e around the same time, so we understand how hard it is for them to fit in study and work.
‘‘ From a community and university point of view it’s exciting having them come here. I believe the interaction is very positive and they will get involved in the community.’’