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Posted on: 12 February, 2019

Livingstone Ratepayers should not be forced to continue to subsidise ADF

With planned expansions and massive upgrades of Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area now rapidly advancing, the ratepayers of Livingstone should no longer be forced to continue subsidising the Australian Defence Force in its use of these defence facilities.

This is the clear message Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig will be taking to Canberra next week in a bid to finally get a commitment for the critical upgrades needed to bring Stanage Bay Road up to a safe and ‘fit for purpose’ standard.

“Livingstone ratepayers have always recognised and supported the national interest in relation to ADF and visiting foreign troops exercising in Shoalwater Bay,” Cr Ludwig said.

“What the Australian Government must in turn recognise is ADF currently occupy almost 25% of our Shire and are making no contribution to rates or the urgently needed upgrade of ratepayer funded SWBTA key access routes like Stanage Bay Road.

“This effectively means every ratepayer in Livingstone has been effectively subsidising ADF’s use of SWBTA for more than 50 years at a current estimated cost of over $1 million a year in lost rates revenue alone.

“Giving added weight to our case is the planned expansion of the SWBTA footprint adjacent to Stanage Bay Road as part of Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) and the recent establishment of a new amphibious landing near the Stanage Township.

“Despite numerous submissions being made to every relevant Federal minister and Senate Inquiries, currently no funding whatsoever has been allocated for the urgently needed upgrades to make Stanage Bay Road safe and ‘fit for purpose’.

“This is despite the massive $1 billion ADF and Singapore are about to spend on upgrades and expansion within SWBTA itself.

“This is clearly not a fair or acceptable situation by any standard, and every Livingstone ratepayer has a right to be angry.

“With up to 30,000 troops now being deployed during joint international exercises with United States Military and a doubling of Singapore troops, this matter can no longer be ignored by the Australian Government.

“Upgrading to ‘fit for purpose’ safe standards is a mandatory requirement for any major development of this magnitude and that will impact on every ratepayer in our Shire for decades to come,” Cr Ludwig said.

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