Defence Ministers of Australia and Singapore, Linda Reynolds and Dr Ng Eng Hen, conducted a video conference Tuesday (15 December) to mark 30 years of the Singapore Armed Forces training at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and the ratification of the Singapore-Australia Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development in Australia.
The ministers reaffirmed the growing bilateral defence relationship between both countries and their shared commitment to a peaceful, inclusive and resilient region with ASEAN at its core. Dr Ng thanked the government and people of Australia for their strong support of the Singapore Armed Forces’ training in Australia. Reynolds expressed appreciation to the government and people of Singapore for their longstanding friendship and partnership.
The commencement of Singapore Armed Forces’ training in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in 1990 was a seminal event in our defence relationship. Continued training over the years is a visible manifestation of our deep and abiding relationship, which has expanded in scale and reach. As a result, thousands of Singapore Armed Forces soldiers and National Service personnel among them train annually in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. In 2013, Exercise Trident, which involves all three services of the Singapore Armed Forces and Australian Defence Force, was incorporated.
The treaty takes forward a key part of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by supporting the joint development of training areas and facilities at Shoalwater Bay and Greenvale, Queensland. When completed, these training areas will further enhance professional exchanges and interoperability between both armed forces, and allow both armed forces to continue contributing to regional security. It will also provide opportunities for local communities in Central and North Queensland to participate in and contribute to the development.
To mark this anniversary, the ministers launched a commemorative video highlighting the breadth and depth of the Singapore-Australia defence relationship. Both Chiefs of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell and Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, also unveiled a commemorative plaque for Camp Growl, which has housed many Singapore Armed Forces personnel who have trained at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area for the past 30 years.