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Stop Australian farm land being blown up

This petition had 6,350 supporters


In November 2016, grazing families who have land in the Marlborough district, north of Rockhampton in Central Queensland, learned that their properties may be likely to be the subject of compulsory acquisition for expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

The proposed compulsory acquisition of land in this area is to be carried out by the Australian Government for the use by both the Singapore and Australian Defence Forces for their training manoeuvres. The land acquisitions, new facilities and infrastructure will be owned by the Australian Government, paid for by Singapore, and accessible for use by the Australian Defence Force and Singapore Armed forces troops. 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces troops may access the training area over 18 weeks. 

The proposed expansion is looking to compulsorily acquire approximately 400,000 acres of prime beef cattle country, across 37 properties, and will result in the loss of approximately 50,000-70,000 head of beef cattle in the area (the Beef Capital of Australia). The proposed expansion will affect not just the local graziers, but also the infrastructure that surrounds them – particularly business owners in Marlborough, who will not be compensated but will be bled dry.

Then, the ripple effect the "land grab" generates will potentially impact the entire Capricornia region in a negative manner. The local Shire will lose approximately $775,000 in rates each year, as the Federal Government does not have to pay rates on land they own - this burden may be imposed upon remaining local ratepayers?

Politicians claim that this land grab will inject $1 billion into the local Capricornia economy, but are unable to provide proof of this, as socio-economic and impact studies are yet to be completed. At least half of this $1 billion dollars will have to be spent on compensation paid along with compulsory acquisition settlement for land - this money granted to displaced graziers will not be returned to the local economy, as 37 replacement properties are not available in the Central Queensland area.  The money may have to be taken elsewhere in Queensland or interstate, or have to be invested elsewhere - this does not benefit the local economy. As for the other half of the $1 billion dollars, there are no promises that local businesses will benefit from these, only suggestions that they can apply when tenders are called for and these "little local guys" must compete against multi-national and international companies for these jobs. 

And it’s not just the tens of thousands of head of cattle that are removed from the economic equation; analyses need to factor in the benefits that the beef industry brings to the local and regional economy by way of overhead and direct costs, as well as the other industries they support - local suppliers, meat processors, small business, and so on. So on one hand you have the Federal Minister for Agriculture saying "this is the golden era for agriculture" but on the other you have the Federal Minister for Defence looking to approve the compulsory acquisition of nearly half a million acres of beef grazing land at the Beef Capital of Australia for the Defence Force to turn into bomb-practise targets… and not just for our own Defence Forces, but for another country’s war games. 

The proposed expansion will also have a detrimental effect on the fishing industry, severely impacting upon large scale commercial fishing operations in the Stanage Bay area - this too will filter through to the Rockhampton region. 

We are asking the Hon Barnaby Joyce (Minister for Agriculture) to consider the impact on agriculture.  We are asking Senator the Hon Marise Payne (Minister for Defence) and the Defence Force; Senator the Hon Mathias Corman (Minister for Finance); the Hon Steven Ciobo (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment); and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the following: 

that this is not in the 'best interests of the nation', and they find, explore and seriously consider alternatives to the current proposal to expand the Shoalwater Bay Training Area by compulsory acquisition (or any acquisition).

 



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