De­fence link aims for lo­cal boost SIN­GA­PORE ON TRACK

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

A NEWLY ap­pointed busi­ness and com­mu­nity li­ai­son says his pri­or­ity will be to en­sure North Queens­land gets big eco­nomic ben­e­fits out of the $ 2.25 bil­lion Aus­tralia- Sin­ga­pore Part­ner­ship.

For­mer army of­fi­cer and Townsville busi­ness leader Mick Reilly has been ap­pointed as the ded­i­cated Aus­trali­aSin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son.

Mr Reilly has lived in North Queens­land for the past 20 years, worked in the ADF for over 30 years and has ex­ten­sive links with the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity.

He is also the Townsville Le­gacy pres­i­dent.

“I’m very ex­cited about the role,” he said.

Mr Reilly has just re­turned from a trip to Sin­ga­pore and will now be­gin work­ing with com­mu­ni­ties near Rock­hamp­ton, Char­ters Tow­ers, and Townsville, on be­half of De­fence, to keep them and lo­cal elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in­formed as the Com­pre­hen­sive Strate­gic Part­ner­ship pro­gresses.

He said af­ter the De­fence pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ter that was the planned com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion of land for mil­i­tary train­ing ex­pan­sion, he was con­fi­dent the Fed­eral Govern­ment was now on the right track to en­sur­ing the ini­tia­tive brought only ben­e­fits.

“I think, like all of us, I was a bit sur­prised by that ( ini­tial ap­proach),” he said.

“But the Min­is­ter has made it clear from the start of the year that they will talk with will­ing sellers and I think De­fence is now bet­ter po­si­tioned and I am com­fort­able with that.”

Mr Reilly said he saw the ASMTI as a long- term op­por­tu­nity for all of Northern Queens­land, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the ini­tial con­struc­tion phase and then ser­vic­ing the Sin­ga­porean troops’ needs.

“We need to un­der­stand what ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity we have that might be able to ben­e­fit the re­gion both im­me­di­ately from con­struc­tions and in­fra­struc­ture works and long- term, the sup­port and logistics ser­vices,” he said.

“My plan is to have some more pub­lic en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties so the pub­lic can know some more de­tail as to where the pro­ject sits and what and how they po­ten­tially might get in­volved from a busi­ness per­spec­tive.”

De­fence Min­is­ter Marise Payne said the Govern­ment was com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­ness to par­tic­i­pate strongly in the de­vel­op­ment of the ini­tia­tive.

De­fence says its rep­re­sen­ta­tives have con­tin­ued to visit landown­ers, busi­nesses, com­mu­nity groups, lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives and elected of­fi­cials since last year as part of its com­mit­ment to giv­ing pri­or­ity to com­mu­nity views.

The Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son of­fice can be con­tacted via ASMTI. lo­cal@ de­fence. gov. au.

MIS­SION: Townsville busi­ness leader Mick Reilly has been ap­pointed the ded­i­cated Aus­trali­aSin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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