The expansion of Australia’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) is anticipated to bring up to $4m into the local economy.

The SWBTA project is part of the Australia-Singapore military training initiative (ASMTI), which aims to deliver enhanced training areas in central and north Queensland that will benefit the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Australia Defence Assistant Minister Senator David Fawcett said that the expansion has already started generating economic growth prospects for central Queensland’s local businesses.

In 2017, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced plans to expand the SWBTA and appointed Laing O’Rourke as the managing contractor in September.

Expansion plans were designed in consultation with local businesses, representative groups, landholders and the local community.

“Once completed, up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will be able to conduct training in central and north Queensland over 18 weeks annually for 25 years.”

Under the initiative, Singapore will invest nearly A$2bn ($1.42bn) for the design, development and construction of a military training area through the SWBTA expansion.

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Fawcett said: “Defence is committed to providing economic benefits and opportunities for local industry across the life of the ASMTI.

“The Singapore Government’s investment of around $2bn in purchasing land and developing and enhancing the training areas in central and north Queensland will meet the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and an increased presence of Singapore Armed Forces personnel.”

Construction work will begin by the end of this year and is expected to create a number of new jobs.

During the construction phase, an estimated $50m will be spent annually.

Once completed, up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will be able to conduct training in central and north Queensland over 18 weeks annually for 25 years.