Defence link aims for local boost SINGAPORE ON TRACK
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.