Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry says the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area will have immediate positive effects to the region and inflammatory comments made by Senator Pauline Hanson today hold little truth to the reality of the project.
“Defence training activities inject funds directly into local economies, benefiting a wide range of businesses.
“In 2017, major exercises such as an Exercise Talisman Sabre injected in the order of $5 million into the local economy.
“For the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI), the current projections of the yearly annual expenditure in local communities in Queensland by Singapore Armed Forces would be in the order of about $70 million when the Initiative is at maturity.
“Collectively, the ASMTI and Shoalwater Bay Training Area Remediation Project will see in the order of $900 million invested in the Capricorn Region. The $135 million remediation project will provide critical infrastructure upgrades to support joint and multinational training activities, including amphibious training and is subject to Parliamentary approval.
“16 local companies have already been contracted for engineering, geotechnical and surveying services in the design phase of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area expansion. To date, this has seen about $4 million injected into the local economy.
Ms Landry said that while Councillor Bill Ludwig and Senator Pauline Hanson have claimed that the Livingstone Shire Council is losing $2 million per year in rates, no formally provided estimate has been sent to Defence.
“I have been advised that Defence has not been formally provided an estimate of the potential loss of rates revenue from the Livingstone Shire Council and therefore cannot comment on this assessment.
“The Commonwealth’s position is that it does not pay rates on its estate, including for Defence training areas and under Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld), land that is occupied by the State or a government entity is exempt from paying rates.
Ms Landry said that when Defence does use council maintained roads, they contribute to the Livingstone Shire Council for the upkeep and maintenance of roads used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
“Since 2001, Defence has contributed over $10 million to Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council through upkeep and maintenance payments. Defence is currently working with Livingstone Shire Council to establish a long-term agreement on roads.
“The Commonwealth holds about 25 per cent of land in the Livingstone Shire. The Defence estate is not serviced by council as other rateable land might be. Where Defence requires services from a local council, it will do so on a pay-for-service arrangement.
“The expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area will see a reduction in the number of properties that need to be serviced by the Livingstone Shire Council once the training area is established”, Ms Landry said.
Michelle Landry has secured over $100 million in funding for infrastructure and other projects in Livingstone including:
$64 million towards further duplication of the Rockhampton – Yeppoon Road.
$21.6 million towards upgrades to Stanage Bay Road.
$20 million towards a 1,000 seat Convention Centre at Yeppoon.
$146,200 towards upgrading the lighting at Swan Park, home of the Yeppoon Swans
$20,000 towards the refurbishments and upgrades to the Emu Park Surf Lifesavers Club.
$20,000 towards upgrades to the Capricorn Coast Volunteer Coast Guard’s Rosslyn Harbour base.
Media Contact: Tom Birkbeck – 0418 908 159