ADF to beef up role in North
THE Australian Defence Force will increase its presence in Northern Australia, providing a boost to economic development in the region.
That was the message from the Department of Defence’s US Force Initiatives program manager Air Commodore Anker Broderson at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Townsville yesterday.
The conference also heard from Austrade’s Grame Barty, who said Northern Australia could provide more food and energy to an urbanising Asia, but it needed to invest in the technology and research to make it happen.
Air Commodore Brodersen said the upcoming Defence White Paper would contain specific commitments to increase the ADF’s presence in Northern Australia.
“Defence will always need to have a significant presence in Northern Australia, ( and this) will and should have a positive economic impact,” he said.
“The White Paper will be a critical document to read and understand. It will have significant and strategic overlap with the Northern Australia White Paper.”
Air Commodore Brodersen said as the ADF increased its capability in Northern Australia there would be increased opportunities to partner with local businesses and governments.
He said the ADF needed to ensure it didn’t compromise its capability or security by co- investing with other organisations, but pointed to the development of the Port of Townsville’s Berth 10 as a key project where it made sense to partner with the State Government and the port.
“We will continue to consider co- investment on a caseby- case basis,” he said.
Mr Barty, acting executive director of International Operations Group at Austrade, said Australia needed to invest in science and engineering to work out how to better take advantage of the North’s vast land and water resources.
“Australia’s north, just like California’s desert, is not so much a land and water issue but a science and engineering issue,” he said.
About 250 delegates are attending the conference in Townsville over two days, hearing from political, business and academic leaders from across the country.
The conference is being held by the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc.