Smooth tran­si­tion on track for Townsville- bound bat­tal­ion

Townsville Bulletin - - Our Defenders - by Emily Mac­don­ald emily. mac­don­ald@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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