The Defence Department has commenced discussions with Greenvale property owners with a view to acquiring their land for a new military training facility.
Officials involved with the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative held public meetings in Charters Towers and Townsville this week to provide updates on the project.
It comes after Defence on November 29 announced that Greenvale was their preferred location for the training facility, with Pentland and Ravenswood to be considered if Greenvale residents were unwilling to sell.
Department of Defence Estate and Infrastructure Group First Assistant Secretary Chris Birrer stressed there would be no forced land acquisitions and said initial discussions with Greenvale landowners had been positive.
“They're positive but it's really about us letting them know about our processes and how we'll engage, getting to know them and getting to understand their own personal circumstances,” Mr Birrer said.
“They'll need to come to their own decision about whether they want to be a willing seller.”
Mr Birrer would not say how many property owners had been approached or detail which properties had been targeted.
“We're not releasing any maps or putting out any detail about the area of land, that's really dependent on our negotiations with landowners because it is very much driven by willing sellers,” he said.
“So the timeline, the exact location, the exact area is all driven by willing sellers and what sort of people come forward to us.”
Mr Birrer said he expected purchase negotiations would commence next year.
He said Greenvale had been selected as their preferred site as some locations where landowners may be willing to sell had been identified.
Mr Birrer said studies into the area looking at the topography, geography and vegetation indicated it was good training country to support a range of activities for both Singapore troops and the ADF.
He said Defence would implement a number of strategies to ensure the environment and properties surrounding the training area were protected.
”We understand that around the Burdekin region sedimentation is a significant issue so erosion control and sedimentation will be one of the priorities that we'll be looking at as well as vegetation management and broader land management,” he said.