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Promising spark for new simulation hub



A recently completed business case on the proposed North Queensland Simulation Park (NQ Spark) has given the innovative simulation training facility the tick of approval.The business case identified that NQ Spark, which is spearheaded by Townsville City Council, would support 830 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and a further 740 jobs once operational. The project will bring together regional science, defence, health and knowledge expertise in Townsville to create an advanced environmental simulation facility and technology-orientated collaborative project. The new facility, to be built in Douglas, will include commercial industry space and has attracted significant interest from the government and commercial sectors.The construction is expected to inject about $225m into the Australian economy and a about $170 into Townsville’s economy. It will also add about $121m to the gross regional product. The foundation tenant will be Cubic Defence Australia, which will establish its Australian headquarters as part of a commitment to use 3400 sqm of the available 13,400 sqm.Acting Mayor Ann-Maree Greaney said Townsville was home to Australia’s largest army base, the largest tertiary hospital in the North and a leading university, making it the ideal space to launch a facility like NQ Spark.“The Townsville City Deal, Defence Strategy and Health and Knowledge Development Strategy all recognise the potential for enhanced collaboration between institutions, industries, and governments to drive job creation and economic growth,” Cr Greaney said.She said now the business case was complete, the council would seek funding through the Townsville City Deal and leverage the upcoming federal election for funding commitments to the project.The council defence engagement officer, Colonel (Retd) David Burke, said most of the organisations involved in Australia’s defence industry value chain were based around Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.“However, there is a real disconnect between where these organisations are based and the physical environment that the ADF will most likely operate in, being Northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific,” Colonel (Retd) Burke said.“NQ Spark will address this disconnect and will provide for the development of test, evaluation, certification and assurance systems needed to provide the Australian Defence Force and others with safe, effective and fit-for-purpose products and systems.”

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