CQ farmers call on State Government to scrap proposed SDA

Cattle producer John Burnett, of Bendemeer Station, north of Clermont, said the region's towns and agricultural land were set to suffer unless the government demonstrated strong and decisive leadership.
Cattle producer John Burnett, of Bendemeer Station, north of Clermont, said the region's towns and agricultural land were set to suffer unless the government demonstrated strong and decisive leadership.

LANDHOLDERS affected by the draft Galilee Basin State Development Area (SDA) are calling on the State Government to scrap the proposal.

The proposal grants the government sweeping powers to acquire land for rail lines linking proposed Galilee Basin coal mines to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal on the Great Barrier Reef.

The draft SDA covers 1.8 million hectares across central Queensland from Alpha to Bowen.

Over half the landholders in the SDA have called for the proposal to be rejected in a formal resolution delivered to State Development Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney today.

John Burnett, spokesperson for landholders' group Corridor to Coast (C2C), says the proposal removes farmers rights and will destroy their businesses.

Mr Burnett's 60,000ha property, Frankfield, falls within the SDA and will be cut in half by a rail corridor.

"Landholders representing more than 62 properties within the SDA are calling for Minister Seeney to withdraw the SDA because it removes our rights and will destroy our businesses," he said.

"A similar SDA scheme for a coal rail line in the Surat Basin resulted in a reported 30 per cent loss in land values.

"Now farmers from Alpha to Bowen are facing the same fate, where uncertainty about future land use prevents investment and expansion and damages agricultural productivity.

"It is still unclear which, if any of the coal rail lines will go ahead," he added.

"Rushing through an SDA that impacts such a large area is poor policy and bad planning.  By giving itself such broad powers, the State Government is leaving landholders in the dark about the future.

"The SDA looks after the interests of mining companies while trampling on the rights of landholders, farmers and communities in central Queensland.

"The SDA is totally unnecessary because existing legislation provisions already allow for compulsory acquisition to build rail lines," Mr Burnett said.

Public comment on the proposal is currently under consideration by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, which is set to make a decision towards the end of this month.

Topics:  galilee basin state development area

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