The number of Singaporean Armed Forces training in Australia is set to take a massive jump after an MoU was signed by both country’s Defence Ministers today.
CAPTION: Singapore Army soldiers demonstrate urban assault techniques at the Shoalwater Bay training area. Photo by Corporal David Cotton.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne and her counterpart Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen signed a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Military Training And Training Area Development In Australia during a visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his delegation to Australia.
Minister Payne said the MoU will deliver a framework to implement increased Singapore Armed Forces unilateral army training in Australia and set conditions for upgrading the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townsville Field Training Area to deliver enhanced training outcomes for both countries.
“Currently up to 6600 Singapore personnel are allowed to conduct training in Australia every year and this will double by 2021.
“Singapore’s training presence will begin to increase next year.
“As this presence increases, the demand for support services and opportunities for local businesses will expand.
“About $2 billion will be invested in the Townsville and Rockhampton regions from 2016 to 2026.”
Minister Payne said the agreement reflected Australia’s close defence relationship with Singapore, based on practical cooperation.
“Australia and Singapore have a long history of defence engagement, and shared interests in regional stability and security.
“This will bring us closer as Defence partners and generate significant local economic activity over the next 25 years.”
The Memorandum of Understanding delivers a key outcome from the exchange of letters on the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, signed by Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Lee on 4 May 2016.