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The Australian Government has awarded three defence contracts worth $6m to three central Queensland-based companies.

Awarded under the $2.25bn Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI), the contracts aim to reinforce the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

Companies awarded for various civil and fencing works are JRT Civil in Yeppoon, Bellequip in Rockhampton, as well as Tunuba in Rockhampton.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The government has agreed Singapore’s training in Australia can proceed, with strict adherence to Covid-19 quarantine and other requirements.

“Following close consultation with Singapore, we expect training will be on a smaller scale than previous years due to Covid-19. This includes not proceeding with Exercise Wallaby in 2020.

“Singapore’s training will still carry significant benefits for both countries, including through the ASMTI. The ASMTI will deliver advanced military training areas in central and north Queensland that meet the future needs of both armed forces.”

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The contracts will support growth in the industry and the local economy. It will create new job opportunities and help development.

The companies are among the 15 firms engaged for design and construction of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area expansion.

Reynolds added: “We are seeing the real benefits of the ASMTI flowing to the local region with up to 200 contract works packages to be made available over the life of the project, and the projects construction workforce expected to peak at 450 people, as part of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area expansion.”

“These contract packages will be key to bolstering growth and supporting jobs as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.”