City may yet land a boost Chance to se­cure main­te­nance deal

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

TOWNSVILLE is set to be over­looked for a slice of the $ 5 bil­lion Defence Land 400 war ma­chine con­tract.

But in­sid­ers say North Queens­land could be in line for ma­jor main­te­nance and lo­gis­tics work on the back of the deal, in con­junc­tion with the Aus­tralia- Sin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive.

Fed­eral La­bor Mem­ber for Blair Shayne Neu­mann yes­ter­day joined the calls for the build­ing of 225 state- of- the- art com­bat re­con­nais­sance ve­hi­cles to be car­ried out in Queens­land, writ­ing to Min­is­ter for Defence In­dus­try Christo­pher Pyne in sup­port of Ip­swich’s bid for the project.

Queens­land is fight­ing Vic­to­ria in the bid to se­cure the $ 5 bil­lion project.

About 150 of the ve­hi­cles, which will be built un­der phase two of the Land 400 project, will be based in Queens­land to sup­port brigades in Townsville and Enog­gera.

Mr Neu­mann cited Ip­swich’s strong ties to the Aus­tralian Defence Force and ex­pe­ri­ence in the defence in­dus­try to pitch the city as an ideal place to build the ve­hi­cles.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands both Ip­swich and Townsville are set be over­looked for the build­ing work, which Rhein­metall Defence Aus­tralia and BAE Sys­tems Aus­tralia are vy­ing for, due to strict con­tract lo­ca­tion re­quire­ments.

But with vis­it­ing Sin­ga­pore troop num­bers to in­crease from 6600 to 14,000 each year by 2021, the num­ber of their ar­moured ve­hi­cles that will visit or be based in the North is also ex­pected to rise.

A source told the Bul­letin that pre­sented Townsville with a unique op­por­tu­nity to se­cure, in full or in part, a huge main­te­nance con­tract to ser­vice the new ve­hi­cles built un­der the Land 400 project as well as the Sin­ga­pore ve­hi­cles.

Her­bert MP Cathy O’Toole, who is cur­rently on a del­e­ga­tion to Sin­ga­pore led by for­mer defence min­is­ter Kevin An­drews, said she would strongly urge the Fed­eral Govern­ment to con­sider Townsville for the Land 400 project.

Ms O’Toole said she could also see op­por­tu­ni­ties for North Queens­land busi­nesses out of the Sin­ga­pore deal.

“It would then make lo­gis­ti­cal sense for a main­te­nance and up­grade cen­tre to be here in Townsville and cre­ate fur­ther op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion while cre­at­ing more jobs,” she said.

“An op­por­tu­nity like this would build jobs for our veter­ans and also cre­ate great op­por­tu­nity for tran­si­tional jobs out of the Defence Force.

“I know all lev­els of govern­ment here lo­cally sup­port ( work) be­ing brought to our re­gion as we know we have great ca­pac­ity.”

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