Mil­i­tary to face grilling on land

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

CITY lead­ers, gra­ziers and De­fence rep­re­sen­ta­tives will to­mor­row at­tend a pub­lic Se­nate hear­ing into how a planned in­crease in mil­i­tary train­ing may af­fect North Queens­land.

Mem­bers of the For­eign Af­fairs, De­fence and Trade Ref­er­ences Com­mit­tee will host the sec­ond pub­lic hear­ing on the in­quiry into the im­pact of De­fence train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and fa­cil­i­ties on ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties at the Ho­tel Grand Chan­cel­lor.

A sim­i­lar hear­ing was held in Rock­hamp­ton yes­ter­day.

Mayor Jenny Hill is the first sched­uled speaker at the hear­ing, which is also ex­pected to hear from Char­ters Tow­ers gra­ziers, Depart­ment of De­fence rep­re­sen­ta­tives and city lead­ers from the Port of Townsville, Townsville Cham­ber of Com­merce and Townsville En­ter­prise.

Gra­zier John Brown­son, from For­est Home, said landown­ers had heard lit­tle since De­fence ruled out com­pul­so­rily ac­quir­ing prop­er­ties as part of the Aus­tralia- Sin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive.

The Bulletin re­vealed last month Aus­tralian and Sin­ga­porean mil­i­tary rep­re­senta- tives had vis­ited three sep­a­rate tracts of land near Townsville – at Pent­land, Green­vale and Ravenswood – un­der a plan to buy more prop­er­ties to ac­com­mo­date vis­it­ing sol­diers.

“We re­ally want to find out what De­fence have in mind and what they are try­ing to do be­cause we haven’t heard any­thing since they went and looked at some of that al­ter­na­tive land,” Mr Brown­son said.

“We def­i­nitely don’t want them ( De­fence) train­ing on good qual­ity coun­try and I have heard that some of what they looked at was good.

“Some of the land they looked at is fur­ther away ( from the Townsville Field Train­ing Area), but when they are hav­ing a war they are not just in the one place so they should be look­ing at di­verse coun­try.”

Her­bert MP Cathy O’Toole, who is in Sin­ga­pore on a del­e­ga­tion, said the Aus­trali­aSin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive should bring new op­por­tu­ni­ties to the re­gion and boost the econ­omy.

She said to­mor­row’s hear­ing would al­low the voices of all who would be po­ten­tially im­pacted to be heard.

“We can­not al­low this to be mis­han­dled by gov­ern­ment as it is so im­por­tant to all par­ties in­volved,” she said.

The hear­ing is from 9.30am in the Ho­tel Grand Chan­cel­lor’s Pan­dora Room.

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