Along the coast of Queensland, Australia, two important Australian Defence Force training areas are being constructed and expanded. Called the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI), the projects support a critical partnership and military cooperation between the two countries.
In 2015, the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore made a joint declaration to enter into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
One element of the partnership is increased access to Australian military training areas for the Singapore Armed Forces. With investment from Singapore, Australia is acquiring designing, developing and constructing military training areas by expanding Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Central Queensland. Funding will also establish a new training area near Greenvale, northwest of Townsville, North Queensland.
Aurecon is privileged to be part of this ground-breaking work with the provision of project management delivery and contract administration services for the building and civil infrastructure.
Specifically, the works include management and administration of the managing contractors appointed by Defence, who will complete the design and delivery of post-land acquisition facilities and infrastructure, hardened manoeuvre corridors, camp and logistics precincts, vehicle maintenance facilities, urban operations live-fire facilities and combined arms air and land ranges.
When the initiative reaches maturity, up to 14 000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will conduct unilateral military training for up to 18 weeks a year for 25 years.
Aurecon is working in collaboration with the Department of Defence to manage the tremendous amount of collaboration and communication for this initiative, between government departments, internal stakeholders, businesses and local communities. Mutually beneficial outcomes are important for this initiative to succeed.
The training areas are complex sites that support many aspects of military operations and are located in remote locations. Aurecon is overseeing the significant amount of investigation and coordination with other concurrent projects, and stakeholder groups, that connect into each site.
Development of both sites necessitates land acquisition, which needs a unique consultation process to apply current and future planning requirements to rezoning land from agriculture to Defence training. Proactive, respectful and considerate consultation is undertaken with nearby residents, Traditional Owner groups, state and federal government, and local business and council.
During construction, the focus is on maintaining site access for groups, minimising disruption to commercial activities, safe operation, and communicating the capital works programme to local communities.
Aurecon led the scoping process to support the engagement of the managing contractor and the subsequent design reviews through a series of stakeholder engagement workshops. The workshops were attended by users, project stakeholders and subject-matter experts who provided key outputs and feedback on the designs. Each group contributed to the final list of bilateral requirements that will satisfy the training requirements for both countries to develop fit-for-purpose facilities and, where possible, are future-proofed.
To sufficiently address the complex nature of the two training areas, and their ability to incorporate possible future expansions, geotechnical, topographical and cultural heritage surveys, including soil contamination, were conducted early in the design process, along with studies into existing services and unexplored ordnances.
Aurecon addressed issues of safety by using a digital geographic information deconfliction system to visualise and identify potential conflicts within the project scheduling, and then provided recommendations for how the works could be delivered in conjunction with other projects and existing training activities.
Project designs include provision for emerging digital technologies. This means that training facilities for military forces from both countries are state-of-the-art and future ready.
The two next-generation training areas will support the use of robotics, autonomous systems, augmented reality and artificial intelligence in military training exercises.
The design of the facilities will maximise training benefits, minimise environmental impacts, enable concurrent training and ensure efficient logistical support for current and future training activities.
Shaping the project in the right way from the beginning was a focus for Aurecon’s team, to provide the permitting and planning requirements early in the process that enables early works activities to commence on schedule. This is being achieved through a flexible project delivery model, using bespoke systems and tools to determine certainty of project outcomes.
The ASMTI is a significant investment in Central and North Queensland. Not only does it represent one of the largest Defence infrastructure projects in Australia; it is demonstrating that effective collaboration can unlock innovative solutions, including the use of digital GIS systems to support coordination activities for the construction of next-generation military training facilities.
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