An army base for Rockhampton is an idea whose time has come, according to Liberal Democrats Senate candidate Campbell Newman.
Speaking with the party's candidate for Capricornia Steve Murphy in Rockhampton, he announced that should they be elected, they will fight for a regular army unit to be located in the central Queensland city.
Mr Newman said it had been on his radar since he was Premier, from 2012 to 2015, when he'd spoken to Defence and local government officials.
"Given where Australia's security situation is going, the moment for this has arrived," he said.
"The decision to locate a regular army unit in Townsville was made in the 1960s, when the population was under 60,000, and it's my understanding generals didn't want it.
"It was a good move then and it was politicians of the day that forced their hand."
He was critical of Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and LNP Senator Matt Canavan, saying they might support a similar idea but they'd had years to deliver and nothing had happened.
Mr Newman said a unit of over 700 personnel with their families, dependents, support and logistics would be a major economic boost to Rockhampton and the whole of central Queensland.
"We believe that the ideal unit would be an armoured regiment, given Shoalwater Bay is one of the few training areas that tanks can be used, therefore it makes sense for the army base to be located in close proximity."
He added that it was ludicrous for southern units to have to travel up the Bruce Highway to Townsville to use that training area.
Mr Murphy said the idea had strong support from groups such as the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce and Capricornia Enterprises.
If it came to fruition, it would be a 3.4pc increase on Rockhampton's population.
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Based at Blackall, CW Qld, where I've raised a family, run Merino sheep and beef cattle, and helped develop a region - its history, tourism, education and communications.
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