Bowen's shores open for adoption
BOWEN'S contribution to the Australian Defence Force could pay off in a big way following a federally supported request for Bowen to adopt a second naval vessel.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne expressed support for the idea following a letter penned on behalf of the Bowen RSL Club.
The adoption would see Bowen host another Freedom of Entry ceremony, similar to one that took place in 2018 when the town opened its doors to Townsville's 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment following their assistance during Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Bowen RSL past president Brian Germain, said Bowen adopted its first navy ship, the HMAS Tarakan in the 1990s.
He said it was time for Bowen to adopt another.
"I had made contact with the Minister for Defence Marise Payne, and after a federal reshuffle it landed on the desk of Christopher Pyne, who sent me a reply fully supporting the idea," he said.
"He put me in touch with a Captain who said he had a proposal already in mind as well as a letter of support from the minister and Whitsunday Regional Council.
"So one day we will adopt another ship to the town."
Mr Germain said Bowen's contributions to the ADF, which has involved playing host to a number of military exercises, was recognised and appreciated by the Defence Minister.
He said the adoption of a second ship would be a great thing for the town's image.
"We've had some negative press of late, but these things are good because they show another side to Bowen," he said.
"It will strengthen ties with the Australian Defence Force. It's good for the town image for people to know we are a welcoming place."
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said another ship would provide an economic and a moral boost for the town.
"We haven't had a ship here since the HMAS Tarakan and every time they came it was well received so I think it's a great initiative," Cr Willcox said.
"I think it's good for the ADF to see the people who are defending our country assimilate with different communities.
"The other big benefit is when they come here they see how beautiful it is then bring their family and friends back for holidays."