Positive outlook now for Shoalwater: Ludwig
LIVINGSTONE Shire Council has its eyes on the benefits of expanding Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area now compulsory acquisitions are off the table.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said now was the time for the country's leaders Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Defence Minister Marise Payne to "realise the outcomes our region deserves”.
"On the opportunity side, long overdue upgrades to all SWBTA access road infrastructure is a key area where immediate direct shared benefits would be delivered for both ADF operations and our primary producers,” he said
"In the case of Stanage Bay Road upgrades, an investment there would also generate huge opportunities to grow our tourism and fisheries industries.
"Another early target area will be improved telecommunications for the Stanage township and surrounding rural properties, which experience huge issues with service failures during major joint army exercises.”
Cr Ludwig said council had previously flagged the establishment of regionally based defence support and related service industries that would go a long way toward ensuring the SWBTA plans translate into genuine economic uplift.
"Engaging local contractors in the construction phase is a good start, however strategies that generate longer-term employment growth and job creation is what everyone needs to see.”
"The Federal Government now has an opportunity to keep faith with the community and make a fresh start.”
"As the whole region breathes a sigh of relief that our embattled primary producers are no longer under threat of compulsory resumptions, it is time to refocus on how the region can achieve the maximum benefit from the promised $1billion infrastructure investment in Shoalwater Bay Training Area," Mayor Ludwig said.
"Livingstone is confident that with 'goodwill' and a solid commitment from the Federal Government to work constructively with stakeholders, our region can realise some great outcomes and opportunities moving forward.
"Our council has always been prepared to work constructively with the Federal Government and ADF on the proviso that there are no a direct costs or negative impacts to Livingstone ratepayers.
"We will start to get a clearer picture when Federal Defence Minister Marise Payne comes back to us with ADF's revised operational 'foot-print'.
"With recent acquisitions, SWBTA now currently occupies approximately 25% of the Shire's land base so obviously existing and future impacts on our rate-base will be major discussion points for Council.”