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Defence to help establish collaborative simulation centre in Townsville

The Department of Defence has signed a $32.2 million agreement with not-for-profit foundation NQ Spark Pty Ltd, paving the way for work to begin on the North Queensland Simulation Park (NQ Spark) in Townsville.

This will be a newly developed, multi-sector simulation facility and northern Australia’s first collaborative defence industry hub. It is supported by the Townsville City Council through Townsville’s University Hospital, the Queensland Government and James Cook University and provides a collaborative opportunity to develop sovereign test, evaluation, certification, and assurance systems to support both the ADF and commercial industry with safe, effective products and systems that have been evaluated in Tropical and Sub Tropical environments within live, virtual and constructive environments.

Townsville is home to the Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade, located at Lavarack Barracks, and will host the Army’s AH-64E Apache and CH-47E Chinook helicopters which will be sustained by their manufacturer, Boeing. It plays a strategic role as a major east coast defence hub, force generation and operational mounting base and has access to large, dedicated and fully instrumented ranges including the Townsville and Greenvale Field Training Areas.

Recognising the availability of uncongested and uncontested land and air space in the tropics, the Queensland Government and Industry are investing to develop aviation and space test and launch facilities in the region at Cloncurry (The Queensland Flight Test Facility) and Abbot Point, near Bowen (Rocket Launch Facility).

These facilities compliment the Australian Government’s investment in the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the development of ReefWorks, also located near Townsville, offering development, design and testing services for marine technologies for both civilian and defence purposes.

“Development of the NQ Spark facility is expected to generate up to 800 jobs and inject over $200 million into the local economy, which is a significant boost for the north Queensland community,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

“This is a unique integration of industry sectors such as health, emergency services and universities, with flow-on social and economic benefits to the broader community. This facility will bring these sectors together through defence industry, to deliver world class simulation training. NQ Spark can set the benchmark for similar initiatives across the country.”

The agreement will deliver a collaborative precinct providing simulation training opportunities for regional science and the defence, emergency response, health and knowledge sectors in Townsville to help support R&D.

It is designed to provide economic and employment opportunities for northern Queensland, while investing in the future of Defence in Australia, said defence in a statement. The Department will work closely with NQ Spark throughout the planning and development stages to support the successful delivery of the facility.​

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