Major Australian military base could be moved from the city to the country in a $4.5 billion plan to create 20,000 jobs and counter growing security threats in the South Pacific
- A proposal could mean moving a key Australian military base to a strategic location
- Australian Army 7th Brigade readiness allowed to move from Enoggera
- Central Queensland has been identified as an ideal spot for rocket launches
- A group of councils in Central Queensland have said the move is ‘urgent’
A group of regional councils has called for a key Australian defense hub closer to their area amid emerging security threats in the South Pacific.
Under the plan, the Australian Army’s high readiness 7th Brigade, currently stationed at the Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera, Brisbane, would move to Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
The Regional Organization of Councils of the area on Wednesday put forward its defense strategy in a $4.5 billion plan that involves building new army bases in central Queensland, giving the Australian Defense Force room to launch longer missiles. .
Members of the 16th Regiment, armed with RBS-70, watch as US Army Apache attack helicopters assemble their gear in Queensland’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area
Defense Secretary Peter Dutton (center) has said the only way to keep the peace in the South Pacific “is to prepare for war and be strong as a country, not cringe, not get down on your knees.” and be weak’
The 7th Brigade (pictured) could be shifted north to Central Queensland, based in Rockhampton according to the plan proposed by the councils of Central Queensland
The aim is to better position the nation to face potential security threats in light of the signing of a security pact last month between the Solomon Islands and China.
Tensions between Australia and the Solomon Islands have been high since the island, located about 2,000 km off the coast of Queensland, signed the security agreement.
CQROC, which is made up of several councils including the Rockhampton, Livingstone, Gladstone, Banana, Woorabinda and Central Highlands shires, wants federal support for the plan.
Their 48-page plan outlined the ADF’s urgent need to increase military advantage, arguing that the need for defense reinforcements had “increased faster than expected.”
The councils claimed the plan would create more than 20,000 jobs, generate an influx of residents and create an economic boom for the less populated parts of the state.
The strategy includes setting up an army barracks in Rockhampton, as well as an RAAF base at the airport.
It proposes that the 7th Brigade now based in Brisbane and future rotations of the US Marines and British Forces should be moved to the barracks in Rockhampton.
Other elements of the plan include establishing a Fleet Base North at Gladstone Port and a School of Armor at Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
The council is also asking for federal support for a centralized depot of military armored vehicles.
CQROC Deputy Chairman and Mayor of Livingstone Shire, Andy Ireland, said the new bases will put the nation in a better position to face threats and foster inner strength.
The Councils said the Australian Army’s ‘high readiness’ 7th Brigade, based at Brisbane’s Enoggera (pictured), is urgently needed in northern parts of Queensland
“Building new bases in the region will provide faster response times to strategic threats in the region – more training more often – better security for our northern approaches and the South Pacific and more secure and self-sufficient supply chains,” Cr Ireland said in a statement.
“A centralized armored vehicle storage and maintenance depot could be built in the Shoalwater Bay training area to meet the challenge of moving the ADF’s new large and massive combat vehicles between bases and training areas.”
If implemented, the move is expected to create 21,866 new jobs and bring an additional 36,618 residents to Central Queensland, providing a $4.5 billion economic boost to the region, although a timeline for the plan has not yet been set.
The ambitious plan comes after Federal Defense Secretary Peter Dutton warned last April that the country must brace itself amid rising tensions.
“The only way to keep the peace is to prepare for war and be strong as a country, don’t cringe, don’t get down on your knees and be weak,” he said on Anzac Day.
A centralized storage and maintenance depot for armored vehicles could be built on the Shoalwater Bay training area off the coast of central Queensland (pictured)