Senate Inquiry may boost defence spin-off

BENEFITS: Mayor Lyn Breuer outlined the scope of future defence activities at Cultana,  saying the economic spin-off would benefit Whyalla.

BENEFITS: Mayor Lyn Breuer outlined the scope of future defence activities at Cultana, saying the economic spin-off would benefit Whyalla.

Mayor Lyn Breuer applauded a Senate Inquiry into the impact of defence training operations on country towns.

Ms Breuer said the Cultana base near Whyalla would be used for future air-to-ground, ground-to-air and ship-to-shore training.

“All three Upper Spencer Gulf cities will have a role to play and see potential benefits from the defence presence,” she said

“We look forward to discussion with the Senate committee about opportunities for defence to better use our local suppliers and service providers to support their activities.

“Changes to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules will provide a good opportunity to revisit how our businesses might be able to become involved in defence contracts.

“As the defence presence in the region grows, we need to build a strong relationship with the department to ensure our communities can really maximise the benefit.”

The inquiry was introduced by South Australian Labor Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, Alex Gallacher.

This came after he met Ms Breuer and the Port Augusta and Port Pirie mayors in December.

The trio highlighted the benefits of last year’s Exercise Hamel for local businesses, but said that earlier engagement for future exercises would be valuable so businesses could plan for the influx.

Port Augusta Mayor and chairman of Spencer Gulf Cities, Sam Johnson, said the expansion of Cultana would see the region become home to one of the biggest training areas.

“The site provides ideal terrain and climate for year-round armoured, mechanised and cavalry forces training and is capable of supporting more major joint exercises such as Hamel,” he said.