Standing up for Canberra

Payne backflips on expanded Singapore Defence training site

The Turnbull Government’s acquisition of land to support enhanced training for Singapore’s Defence forces become another fiasco from a Government fast becoming renowned for its fiascos.

Only last week Defence was saying every site other than that proposed at Charters Towers was “unsuitable for the training requirements”.

Today, they've said they are looking at other options.

The fact Defence have now committed to investigating other sites, just a week after ruling out every other site as “unsuitable for the training requirements”, shows how chaotic and leaderless this process has become.

The Turnbull Government must step up and reveal what it will do differently this time around.

The whole land acquisition process has been marred by a total lack of consultation.

The announcement that other options will be “considered” simply leaves residents with more uncertainty, and no doubt creates confusion for Singapore as one of our most important Defence partners.

Landowners shouldn’t have to rely on a vague map in the local paper to learn Defence is considering their acquisition.

It is disgraceful that none of the Turnbull Government’s three Defence Ministers have made it a priority to oversee the establishment of enhanced Defence training arrangements as agreed with Singapore.

The fact that the three Turnbull Government Defence Ministers couldn’t manage enough leadership between them to talk to any locals before announcing their properties would be forcibly acquired is a damning indictment of Malcolm Turnbull’s Defence team.

The Turnbull Government’s ‘announce first, explain later’ attitude is causing anxiety and concern in communities around the country.

Whether it’s bargaining for Defence public service staff, talking with communities affected by firefighting foam contamination or maintaining and expanding its Defence estate, it seems Minister Payne’s only strategy is stubbornness.