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SHOALWATER: Tim Nicholls calls on PM to intervene immediately

LNP Leader Tim Nicholls in Rockhampton to talk about the Hospital Carpark.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
LNP Leader Tim Nicholls in Rockhampton to talk about the Hospital Carpark. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK070916ccarpark1

QUEENSLAND Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has labelled the proposed acquisition of rural properties in the Shoalwater Bay a 'mess' and has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene.

In a joint statement issued this morning, Mr Nicholls, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Dale Last and Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Northern Development Andrew Cripps revealed Mr Nicholls has written to the PM requesting his immediate intervention in the proposed acquisition of properties at Shoalwater Bay, as well as further north.

Mr Nicholls said Mr Turnbull needed to sort out the mess quickly and provide certainty for landholders and local communities.

"Even though this is a federal issue, the decision has massive implications for the agriculture sector and communities," Mr Nicholls said. 

"Australia's defence and good relations with our allies such as Singapore are of course important but the process the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has undertaken has been confusing, muddled and needs a rethink. 

"The ADF has dropped the ball on this and hasn't clearly communicated the process to the potentially-affected landholders or successfully justified the acquisitions to the wider community." 

Mr Last said the loss of significant areas of productive grazing land at Shoalwater Bay and west of Townsville would have a big impact on the beef industry supply chain across the state.

"First we have had a drought which devastated our cattle industry and now the federal government is taking away prime agricultural land at both locations," Mr Last said.

"The land at Shoalwater Bay and Herveys Range runs more than 100,000 head of cattle. You simply can't do this to our beef industry.

"This is a real issue for Queensland's cattle sector which aside from the widespread drought, has just emerged from federal Labor's live export ban.

"Australia's defence and good relations with our allies such as Singapore are of course important but the process the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has undertaken has been confusing, muddled and needs a rethink. 

"The ADF has dropped the ball on this and hasn't clearly communicated the process to the potentially-affected landholders or successfully justified the acquisitions to the wider community." 

Mr Cripps also weighing in on the issue, vowing the state LNP would 'take the fight to Canberra'.

"There is no confidence in the current process and there is no clarity that all alternative options have been fully considered," Mr Cripps said.

"Therefore, the state LNP does not support the current process of proposed land acquisitions in Central and North Queensland. 

"The consultation process to this point has been woefully inadequate and this agricultural land is too valuable to be taken out of production without a good reason.   

"The ADF and the federal government need to improve their communications with individual landholders who may be impacted and properly outline how North and Central Queensland will benefit from this Defence Training Agreement." 

Topics:  beef capital malcolm turnbull shoalwater bay shoalwater bay miltiary training area expansion tim nicholls


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