Singapore is Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner and one of our longest standing Defence partners in the South East Asia region.
Australia and Singapore’s Defence relationship is founded on common values and strong, long-standing shared interests in regional trade, stability and security.
The ASMTI is a key element of Australia and Singapore’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was announced by both governments in 2015.
The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership outlines a long-term vision to enhance Australia and Singapore’s strategic trade, economic, Defence and people-to-people links, as well as deepen collaboration between the two countries.
The ASMTI provides a unique opportunity to develop and enhance advanced military training areas in Central and North Queensland and further strengthen Australia and Singapore’s Defence partnership.
In March 2020, a Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development was signed by Australia and Singapore.
The Treaty builds on 30 years of Singapore’s military training in Australia and underpins Singapore’s investment in, and commitment to, delivering the ASMTI. It also provides greater certainty of the ASMTI’s long-term future and viability, and the local economic opportunities and benefits that will be delivered across the ASMTI’s full lifespan.
The Treaty replaces the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Australia and Singapore, which was signed in 2016. The MoU delivered a framework to increase the Singapore Armed Forces’ unilateral training in Australia and set the conditions for upgrading Defence training areas in Central and North Queensland.
The 2016 Defence White Paper identified military training areas as a key enabler for generating and sustaining Defence capability. This is consistent with the 2015 White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, which outlined the Government’s commitment to strengthening Defence’s presence in Northern Australia.
Equipping personnel with the skills, knowledge and training they need to meet the challenges of the future is a priority for the Australian Defence Force.
The ASMTI’s five key objectives are to:
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update (DSU) sets out the Government’s Defence strategy in response to Australia’s changing strategic environment. The DSU outlined three objectives – to shape Australia’s strategic environment, to deter actions against our interests, and to respond with credible military force if required.
In implementing these objectives, Defence will prioritise its immediate region, reinforcing Defence’s priorities of engagement in the Indo-Pacific Region, including Southeast Asia.
The 2020 Force Structure Plan (FSP) implements the DSU’s strategic objectives using new and adjusted ADF capability investments. This includes maximising Defence industry opportunities and using Local Industry Capability Plans to maximise the opportunity for local businesses to be involved in Defence Infrastructure projects.