Defence deal to transform north’s economy

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement between Australia and Singapore is set to accelerate the development of Northern Australia and transform the whole of the region’s economy, Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

During Question Time today, Senator Macdonald sought confirmation from Defence Minister Senator Payne how the defence elements of the agreement, which will see the Singapore Government increase troop numbers to 14,000 per year, and invest $2billion in northern defence bases over the next 25 years, will help strengthen local economies.

Senator Payne said the as part of the defence deal, the Singaporean Government will increase its troop numbers from 6,600 to 14,000 and training from 6 to 18 weeks a year, and invest around $2.25billion in defence infrastructure.

“This is a partnership that will deliver on trade, on defence, on innovation, on education, on law enforcement and cultural exchange,” Senator Payne said.

Senator Payne said as Singapore’s training presence in Townsville and Rockhampton increases, the demand for support services and the opportunity for local businesses will also expand.

“This represents enormous opportunities for local businesses to be part of the supply chain, and to benefit from this ground-breaking investment in our strategic relationship,” Senator Macdonald said.

“The defence component of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is not only recognition of the importance of our relationship with our Singaporean neighbours, who are our most involved defence partner in South-East Asia, it is also a perfect complement to the Federal Coalition’s own multi-billion dollar commitment to the development of Northern Australia. 

“The Singaporean Prime Minister’s historic speech to the Australia Parliament today is a new chapter in laying the foundations of an even stronger, more collaborative relationship between our countries, and I look forward to working with my local communities in the North to ensure they are well prepared to benefit from the economic stimulus it will provide.”

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