The Socio-Economic Impact Assessment is an important part in informing Defence's planning, particularly as it develops options to enhance its training areas in Central and North Queensland.
Making sure this initiative provides the greatest possible benefits for local communities is a key priority for Defence. This includes minimising any negative impacts, wherever possible. This Assessment provides Defence with a greater understanding of the potential social and economic impacts in both Central and North Queensland, and demonstrates how opportunities for the community can be increased. This information will assist Defence to make informed decisions throughout the planning and implementation process.
KPMG's independent analysis found the Initiative will deliver a positive benefit for Queensland, with Central and North Queensland to see the greatest benefits, including an increase in net income and additional jobs created during the construction phase, and once the new facilities are operational.
For more information on the Assessment's findings, read the full report [PDF 1.3MB], Queensland factsheet [PDF 108KB], Shoalwater Bay region fact sheet [PDF 95KB] and Townsville region fact sheet [PDF 84KB].
A comprehensive stakeholder engagement process was carried out from January to March 2017 in both regions. This included face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions and the review of written submissions and social media posts.
The Assessment highlights community concerns about the potential negative social impacts of the Initiative, particularly the uncertainty that existed at the time that initial consultation was undertaken with landholders in late 2016/early 2017. Defence takes the views of the community seriously and incorporates those views into its planning. Defence will work in partnership with local communities at all stages of implementation to maximise the benefits and minimise any adverse impacts that might result from the Initiative.
In addition to only purchasing land from willing sellers, Defence has recently appointed a Business and Community Liaison, Mr Mick Reilly, to support local engagement for the Initiative. Mr Reilly is working with the existing Defence staff in Queensland and is playing a key role in ensuring Defence is actively listening and addressing the needs of communities in Central and North Queensland during the implementation.
Defence is taking a considered and holistic approach to training area development to ensure Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Singapore Armed Forces requirements are met. Defence is mindful of family and Indigenous ties to land.
This Initiative will be in partnership with the local communities to maximise their economic benefit. Defence is exploring how best to minimise pressure on the agricultural sector, including looking at options to purchase land which is of less agricultural value, but is still suitable for military training.
By working with willing sellers to develop viable expansion options, the Initiative will deliver benefits for local communities, as well as for the ADF and our bilateral relationship with Singapore.
The Assessment shows that Central and North Queensland are generally well equipped to participate in implementation of the Initiative. This is why the results are so positive for these local areas –it is projected that over 80 per cent of the income generated through the development phase of the Initiative will stay in these two regions.
The Assessment highlights the importance of engaging local businesses and suppliers, and the more contracts secured by local businesses, the greater the economic benefit will be for the regions. The Assessment also indicated stakeholders have concerns regarding the challenges local businesses face in participating in Defence procurement processes.
The Memorandum of Understanding governing the Initiative includes a commitment to prioritise the use of local suppliers to deliver the investment required. Defence already has a solid record of engaging local suppliers for previous large-scale construction projects. From Defence’s perspective, engaging local contractors where they have the capacity and the capability to perform the work is a great way to achieve value for money.
Defence is committed to ensuring local businesses have the opportunity to participate in work that might be available through the Initiative. Over the coming months, Defence will engage with local businesses, industry and suppliers to assist them to know how to do business with Defence and make them aware of the opportunities available to them. Changes, challenges and opportunities will continue to present themselves throughout the life of the Initiative. Defence will ensure open and honest dialogue remains at the heart of community engagement, underpinning this important Initiative for Australia.
If you would like to speak to a Defence representative about the SEIA, please contact the Program Office on phone +61 2 6266 8292 or email ASMTI.firstname.lastname@example.org