Major construction works have commenced for the planned expansion of Australia’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) located in Central Queensland.

As part of the expanded SWBTA, which is being undertaken under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI), construction of urban operations training facilities, information and communication technology infrastructure are now underway. The expanded SWBTA is expected to be fully complete by 2027.

“Singapore is a close defence partner with a shared commitment to regional stability, having conducted military training in Australia for almost 30 years,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said in a statement. “It will also establish a new training area near Greenvale in North Queensland to help meet the future needs of both the Australian Defence Force and Singapore Armed Forces.”

The Australian Government will own and manage both training areas, whose expansion and development will meet not only the future training needs of the Australian Defence Forces but also that of Singapore military personnel.

The SWBTA can support army, air force and navy live-fire exercises. It also features a permanently cleared parachute drop zone and three airfields. The training area has a modern urban training facility and can also support tactical amphibious exercises, individual and crew-served weapons training, underwater demolitions training, armoured battle run areas, and more. 

Singapore is placing a special emphasis on the expanded SWBTA for training of its armed forces personnel as the training area is almost four times its size; allowing an expanded scale and complexity of training.

Singapore is slated to invest approximately AU$2.25 billion under ASMTI, which is a key element of its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia which was announced in 2015. A Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development was inked in March 2020 between Australia and Singapore.

On operationalisation and maturity of ASMTI, Singapore will initially undertake training in Central and North Queensland for up to 7,000 armed forces personnel for over 18 weeks every year, starting 2024 and this will increase to up to 14,000 personnel from 2027.