The number of defence force personnel in Townsville is set to swell in the coming weeks as the city and surrounding region plays its part in the biennial Talisman Sabre training exercise.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill welcomed the troops arriving to town to take part in the training exercise which is conducted bilaterally with the United States.

“Townsville is a garrison city with a long and proud military history, and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) plays a major role in the fabric of our community,” Cr Hill said.

“Every two years we welcome troops from all over the world to take part in this training exercise which highlights just how important Townsville’s role is as a major defence base.

“The ADF supports hundreds of jobs within the Townsville community, and these training exercises bring personnel from across the world to our city during arguably the best time of the year to showcase it.

“This year’s exercise will see those numbers of overseas personnel reduced due to the impacts of COVID-19, but the ADF has taken precautions with participants quarantined and tested to ensure the community remains safe from the virus and it’s great to have the exercise still going ahead.

“I’d like to wish all the troops good luck, and we look forward to seeing them all in the city once the training has concluded.”

Cr Hill said Council will continue to work with the ADF to ensure that their presence in the city continues to grow to support to community and the economy.

“Council endorsed a 10-year Defence Strategy last year, and as part of the City Deal, the ongoing growth of Townsville as a Defence Hub will play a vital role in strengthening our local economy,” she said.

“This includes the city becoming the home of a Singaporean Army detachment as part of the Australian-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) which will enhance our city’s reputation and investing money directly into our economy through the development of the Greenvale training area and hosting thousands of personnel.”