This Report covers two proposed treaty actions with Singapore:
the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore concerning Military Training and Training Area Development in Australia; and
the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.
The proposed Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore concerning Military Training and Training Area Development in Australia will permit Singapore to expand its military training facilities at Shoalwater Bay and develop a new training centre at Greenvale in Queensland.
Singapore has conducted military training in Australia for almost 30 years. Singapore’s military training in Australia has become central to Australia and Singapore’s military relationship.
The military training Agreement identifies the land areas, facilities and infrastructure to be developed. In addition, the Agreement permits the Singaporean military to undertake training at these facilities.
The Committee considers the military training Agreement represents another step forward in the close relationship between the Australian and Singaporean militaries.
The military training Agreement will provide Singapore with training facilities larger than those available in Singapore. It will also provide significant investment in regions of Queensland that rely heavily on tourism, and have consequently suffered during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement will amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), signed in 2003 by replacing SAFTA’s current Chapter 14 (Electronic Commerce) with a new Chapter.
The digital economy Agreement is expected to provide a formal framework for cooperation to support new opportunities in the digital economy between Australia and Singapore, including the adoption of emerging technologies. It is also expected to build and maintain trust in digital trade.
The digital economy Agreement will establish a benchmark for digital trade in the region by agreement between two of the region’s largest proponents of free trade.
While a number of concerns have been raised in relation to the Agreement, such as the Agreement’s potential impact on privacy and insecure work, the Committee is satisfied that the Agreement will permit Australia to address these issues.
In addition, the Report advises that the Committee has agreed that binding treaty action should be taken for the following minor treaty actions:
the Amendment to the Framework Agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance; and
the Amendment of Article XII(c)(ii) of the Agreement relating to the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization.