FARMERS WIN: The Olive's sent a clear message to the ADF saying their property was not for sale. INSET: Alf Collins to the left, Afgorce CQ manager Sharon Howard in the middle and Couti Outi owner Linda Geddes, right.
FARMERS WIN: The Olive's sent a clear message to the ADF saying their property was not for sale. INSET: Alf Collins to the left, Afgorce CQ manager Sharon Howard in the middle and Couti Outi owner Linda Geddes, right. Contributed

Graziers overjoyed with PM's decision

IN TYPICAL Australian fashion, landholders and business owners either went on with work or joined a celebratory gathering in a backyard after yesterday's news.

Marlborough Against Defence Land Grab chairwoman Danii McKenzie spoke with The Morning Bulletin about 3.30pm.

At the time, the members of the committee and others impacted by a proposal that included compulsory land acquisition were in her backyard rejoicing about the "no landholder will be forced to sell” order from the Prime Minister.

Mrs McKenzie, who owns Marlborough Motors with husband Darryl, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's announcement was a great victory for the community.

She said that of the 37 properties that had been in the initial acquisition zone, conversations with landholders suggested only six or seven were willing to sell.

Mrs McKenzie said those six or seven made up only 10% of Marlborough Motors' business, compared to 70% in the initial zone.

She said people still needed to fill out the socio-economic impact form for KPMG as there still would be a negative impact on the region from the expansion.

"(Now we) just wait and see who sells,” Mrs McKenzie said.

Linda Geddes of Stanage Bay property Couti Outi welcomed yesterday's news.

"It's very good,” she told The Morning Bulletin.

"It's excellent ... We just can't believe it.”

The Geddes family have owned Couti Outi for 140 years and half of their property was eyed off by the Department of Defence.

The family run about 4000 head of brangus on about 15,400ha.

The section of land that defence wanted was the high ground used when it rains and the grazing land is covered in water.

However, not everyone was quick to rejoice yesterday.

Marlborough brahman breeder Alf Collins said the people of CQ still needed to be vigilant.

"The same people that are making promises now have lied before. We have got to be doubly vigilant now,” he said.

"We need to insist good governance is what we get.

"We may have won the battle but the war is not over.”

Mr Collins said he was thankful though of all the people who rose to the occasion and fought for the community.

"People power is a wonderful thing,” he said.

AgForce Central Queensland regional manager Sharon Howard said the news was a great win for the entire rural community around Marlborough.

"Not only are landholders who didn't want to sell able to relax, landholders who are keen to sell can continue negotiations with the defence department,” she said.

"The last couple of months have highlighted a number of defence-related issues including the atrocious state of the current Shoalwater Bay training facilities.

"AgForce is calling on both levels of government to address vegetation management issues within current defence land holdings to ensure the expansion debacle wasn't a complete waste of time.

"We need to learn from what we've all been put through and find a way to ensure it never happens again.

"We can't afford to stop caring for our land because we don't have a couple of billion dollars to just buy more.

"Agricultural land is highly valued and very valuable and it should be recognised as such, particularly from governments of the day.”



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