Federal Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon has welcomed the presentation in Parliament today of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories report on The strategic importance of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories.
In speaking to the report Mr Snowdon acknowledged the Islands historical strategic importance to Australia as well as current activity on the islands relating to defence and border protection.
As to the future strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Territories, Mr Snowdon made particular note of the Committee’s Recommendations regarding the project to upgrade the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Airport runway, and the need to engage with the local community to ensure local job and business opportunities.
Mr Snowdon also welcomed the Committee’s recommendation regarding stakeholder consultation in developing medium and long term solutions for the Christmas Island wharf to ensure that strategic, economic and social objectives can be met.
As well as these direct recommendations regarding strategic infrastructure Mr Snowdon stressed:
“We need to make sure that the long-term economic interests and economic development of these island communities are at the forefront of our thinking about strategic interest. If we don’t invest in economic and social development we will lose the vision islanders have for themselves as part of the broader Australian community and Australian citizens.”