Australia, Singapore committed to training base despite resistance from farmers 

The governments of Singapore and Australia remain committed to developing a military training base in northern Queensland, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Tuesday (Dec 27) following media reports of resistance from farmers Down Under who have to give up prime agricultural land for the development.
In response to media queries, Mindef said Australia’s Department of Defence (ADoD) is “consulting closely with the landowners on their concerns”.
“Mindef and the Australia Department of Defence remain committed to the full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Military Training and Training Area Development that was signed by the defence ministers of Australia and Singapore in October 2016. Mindef will continue to work closely with the ADoD on the development of the training areas,” said the ministry’s spokesperson.
Under the agreement, master planning for the training site in Townsville, Queensland, that is four times the size of Singapore, is scheduled to start next year, while construction is expected to begin in 2019.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had lauded the significance of securing this “rare piece of training ground” that will provide more training opportunities to hone Singapore’s military capabilities.
However, according to Australian media reports, the majority of Australian farmers who have been told they could lose their land are refusing to make way, with some accusing the local defence department of conducting a domestic “invasion” and “land grab” on behalf of Singapore.
Many have also urged the Australian government to look for alternative sites, stressing that “prime agricultural areas” should not be used for military training.
Under the agreement, the Singapore Armed Forces will be able to conduct unilateral training in Australia with 14,000 troops per year over 25 years— up from 6,600 per year now— in training areas 10 times the size of Singapore. 
The two countries will also jointly develop military training areas and advanced facilities in Australia.
During their training, the troops will stay for up to 18 weeks, longer than the current 60 days.
As part of the deal, Singapore has committed A$2.25 billion (S$2.34 billion) over the next 25 years to develop military assets in Australia.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Carol M says:

    Leave our country alone ,enough is enough ,this government should be shot they are selling US out to all these other countries not bit by bit ,but in big chunks ,I’m SO disgusted with this government


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