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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4129


Mr EWEN JONES (HerbertGovernment Whip) (16:08): It was just over a week ago that the Minister for Defence, the Hon. Marise Payne, came to Townsville and visited Defence facilities and had discussions with our corporate sector. The Air Force turned on a first-class briefing for us, and then a great mingle and meet with the staff at the RAAF Base Townsville. Thank you to all involved.

We got to meet with the people from 5 Aviation Regiment and the people involved in Army aviation in Townsville: the Chinooks and the MRH90s—truly great facilities—and explain the money that will be spent over the next 10 years, over $500 million in RAAF Base Townsville, refurbishing that base which has very much come to order.

We then moved on to Lavarack Barracks. We had a great tour with Brigadier Chris Field and a great briefing of the Abrams tank by Captain Grant Gubbins. Mark that name down, because he will be someone who is very important in the years to come.

Townsville's corporate sector also stepped forward, especially the Townsville port, where porting of the LHDs—the landing helicopter dock ships—has become so important to Townsville, and such a magnificent figure on our horizon. The ability to broaden our channel and bring more stuff in through the state development area cannot be undermined. Anything we do to our port in Townsville is hugely important to our overall economy. It is the way we were founded 150 years ago, and I thank the House.