AgForce declare 'mission accomplished' on Shoalwater land grab
A COLLECTIVE sigh of relief exhaled across Central and North Queensland today, but AgForce remain disappointed in the Federal Government's handling of the Shoalwater Bay military expansion.
After months of uncertainty and following a week of conflicting reports from LNP representatives, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning announced the Department of Defence would abandon plans to force graziers off their land.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said today's announcement was a victory, and that "common sense” had prevailed.
"AgForce has always maintained that farmers should not be forced to sell their land to the Department of Defence, so it is good to see the Federal Government has finally listened and acted on the concerns of local landholders,” he said.
"It's disappointing that these farming families had to go through months of unnecessary stress and heartache, but we are pleased the right result was achieved in the end.”
Mr Maudsley said the issue highlighted the constant battle farmers faced preserving agricultural land for agricultural use.
"Agricultural land is constantly being taken away from landholders for a variety of reasons such as national park expansions and mining developments, as well as being rendered useless by ill-conceived Government regulations,” he said.
"Agriculture and farming are the lifeblood of regional communities, and we need governments to stop allowing good agricultural land to be taken away and we need governments to allow us to manage our land productively.”
Mr Maudsley said the back-down on the proposed Defence land grab demonstrated yet again how good outcomes could be achieved when farmers united and stood together against poor Government policy.
"Farmers campaigned hard to defeat the Palaszczuk Government's harsh and unnecessary vegetation management laws last year in the Queensland Parliament, and we fought hard to get the Federal Government to retreat on their proposed Defence land grab,” he said.
"It shows that politicians can't take rural support for granted. AgForce will continue to stand up for our members to make all politicians understand the need to get behind farmers to grow our businesses, create jobs in the regions and produce more food for a growing global population.”