Nov 09, 2016

Regions have Defence spend in their sights

Regions have Defence spend in their sights

Regional businesses are being urged to prepare for a 2019 start to capital works as Singapore pours $2.25 billion into upgrading defence training facilities in the Rockhampton and Townsville regions.

Capricorn Enterprise has released an indicative timeline regarding the Singapore Armed Forces investment as well as information on the requirements for local suppliers hoping to tap into the work.

Economic development manager Neil Lethlean said the group had drawn information from three recent briefings to compile the advice shared in its latest newsletter.

With various protocols and specific requirements attached to Defence-related work, now was the time for interested businesses to ensure they were in the running, he said.

“We will be holding a number of industry forums for local businesses who want find out more, learn how to engage with Defence, prequalify and have the capability and be on the supply chain listings to be involved,” Mr Lethlean said.

SAF have been training at central Queensland’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area for 26 years and currently hold ‘Exercise Wallaby’ there each year.

A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) MOU – entered under the recently signed free trade agreement between Australia and Singapore – will see that country invest more than $1 billion each in those facilities and the Townsville Field Training Area for stepped-up activity.

The anticipated timeline, compiled by Capricorn Enterprise, includes:

March/April 2017 – Master Plan for both training areas prepared with Australian and Singapore military input

June/July 2017 – Business case finalised and presented to Singapore and Australian Governments for endorsement

2019-2021 – Upfront capital investment on land already owned by the ADF – spend spread evenly between SWBTA and Townsville.

2021 – SAF increase in training numbers to two nine-week blocks, with 14,000 troops to train between SWBTA and Townsville.

As well as hosting the annual Wallaby training exercise involving Singapore, Shoalwater Bay was used for Talisman Saber exercises involving the United States every two years as well as Australian Defence Force training, Mr Lethlean said.

But he said the region had not previously had multiple industry groups involved with Defence contracts.

While Capricorn Enterprise was yet to see ‘the devil in the detail’ regarding the new arrangement, it was likely to involve an expansion in the training area – requiring significant contracts in civil works such as roads and fencing, he said.

Mr Lethlean said the increased activities were also likely to require facilities for servicing and securely storing equipment locally.

“What the Minister (Marise Payne) is saying to regional industry is ‘we’re going to endeavour to break down the barriers and have you prequalify to secure the work in regional Australia’,” he said.

SMEs requiring specific assistance regarding prequalification for Defence supply chain opportunities can email

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