This morning we welcomed a major announcement from the Queensland Labor Party in relation to developing North Queensland’s Defence sector. This is a priority outcome that Townsville Enterprise has been working toward and advocating for nearly 12 months.
Labor’s support for a number of key recommendations identified in Townsville Enterprise’s ‘North Queensland Defence Industries Position Paper’, and further emphasised in the Townsville North Queensland 2017 State Government Election Priorities, is a significant step forward in realising our region’s objective of generating greater Defence industry capability and local employment opportunities.
The Queensland Labor Party announced the following Defence related commitments:
- Multi-million dollar bid for Queensland to host a new $50M Defence Cooperative Research Centre. It is estimated that this facility will generate $195B in Defence expenditure over the next 10 years, with the testing sites to be situated in regional areas such as North Queensland
- Establishment of dedicated ‘Defence Jobs Queensland’ Agency to oversee the creation of Defence jobs in Queensland
- Establishment of a ‘North Queensland Defence Advisory Board’ to identify suitable Defence opportunities for North Queensland
- Establishment of an ‘NQ Defence Personnel Support Hub’, led by retired Lieutenant General John Caligari, to support ex-defence personnel and their families.
This is a great outcome for the North Queensland community as Defence has been identified as a sector that the region is yet to leverage its full economic potential. Townsville North Queensland asserts a proud military history and maintains the mantle as one of our nation’s true garrison cities. However, the generation of long-term sustainable/meaningful employment opportunities, supportive of transitioning personnel and their dependents’ remains a key long-term economic and social challenge for the North Queensland region.
Securing a North Queensland Defence Advisory Board and Support Hub has been a key priority for Townsville Enterprise over the past 12 months. A North Queensland Defence Hub is not just about Townsville, it’s about positioning the State to leverage positive economic outcomes and investment for a number of regional economies.
Townsville Enterprise acknowledges the Labor Government and Minister Coralee O'Rourke in particular for securing these commitments and working with Townsville Enterprise on North Queensland's Defence Development Agenda.
Our focus now shifts to the LNP, One Nation and Katter parties who we hope to secure a similar commitment from. We must see bipartisan support across all Queensland political parties for the key components of the Townsville Enterprise led North Queensland Defence Development Agenda to ensure our community realises the critical social and economic outcomes Townsville North Queensland's Defence presence can deliver.