MARCH­ING ON

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN AN­DER­SEN john.an­der­sen@news.com.au

THE Aus­tralian De­fence Force could be close to clos­ing a deal that will see the Sin­ga­pore army set up its own train­ing base at Green­vale.

Four weeks ago it was look­ing as though two land­hold­ers who were re­fus­ing to sell could cause the ADF to walk away from the Green­vale op­tion and fo­cus in­stead on Pent­land and Ravenswood.

The ini­tia­tive to iden­tify and buy land for mil­i­tary train­ing pur­poses is the linch­pin of the $ 2.2 bil­lion Aus­tralia- Sin­ga­pore Mil­i­tary Train­ing Ini­tia­tive.

Mayor of Char­ters Tow­ers Re­gional Coun­cil Liz Sch­midt said yes­ter­day that the two land­hold­ers who had been hold­ing out were now back at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.

“It is now get­ting to the pointy end,” she said.

“The ADF wants the land deal in place by Fe­bru­ary so that con­struc­tion on the base can start in 2019.”

Cr Sch­midt said a land ac­qui­si­tion out­come was now look­ing bet­ter for Green­vale.

The Townsville Bul­letin un­der­stands there are eight sta­tions in the greater Green­vale area that the army was look­ing at buy­ing.

Sources had in­di­cated that six own­ers had agreed to sell and that a fi­nal de­ci­sion lay with the two sta­tion own­ers who were hes­i­tant about mak­ing a deal.

“The peo­ple there have come to the party, so now we will see what will hap­pen with Green­vale,” Cr Sch­midt said. “It is start­ing to look pos­i­tive. “Land­hold­ers at Ravenswood are still very much in the mix as well.”

Cr Sch­midt said that if the Green­vale op­tion was aban­doned by the ADF, it would turn its at­ten­tion to Ravenswood and Pent­land.

Cr Sch­midt said it would be in­cor­rect for any land­holder to think there was only one op­tion.

“The army is still in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Pent­land and Ravenswood. The ne­go­ti­a­tions are on­go­ing. It will hap­pen. It is just a mat­ter of where,” Cr Sch­midt said.

“There is not a never- end­ing pot of money.

“There is a bud­get for land and for con­struc­tion.”

Cr Sch­midt said that no mat­ter where it was es­tab­lished — Green­vale, Pent­land or Ravenswood — Char­ters Tow­ers would ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cally.

“All of the favoured lo­ca­tions are in the coun­cil area.

“The ADF pol­icy is that all goods and ser­vices will be sourced from Char­ters Tow­ers.

“If some­thing can’t be sourced from here, then they will go else- where to buy it.

“This is what has hap­pened at Shoal­wa­ter Bay where smaller con­trac­tors in the Liv­ing­stone Shire are get­ting the work.”

Cr Sch­midt said the ADF had made of­fers to prospec­tive land­hold­ers in June.

The Townsville Bul­letin has been told land­hold­ers in the Green­vale area have been given the op­por­tu­nity to con­sider the of­fers and that the ADF would con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate with will­ing sell­ers over the com­ing weeks.

An ADF brief­ing pa­per ob­tained by the Townsville Bul­letin states that “sites near Ravenswood and Pent­land will be con­sid­ered should Green­vale prove not fea­si­ble”.

Our June 20 front page.

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