John Partridge at the rally opposing the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training area at the Lakes Creek Hotel in Rockhampton.
John Partridge at the rally opposing the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training area at the Lakes Creek Hotel in Rockhampton. Chris Ison

Hundreds angry and upset at Shoalwater rally

"IF he has any guts he will come here and face you."

Those were the words of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tonight, as she spoke to a 300 strong crowd protesting the Federal Government's involuntary acquisition of land at Shoalwater Bay.

The event kicked off at 5pm this afternoon at the Lakes Creek Hotel, and featured speeches from the Premier,  AMIEU Branch Secretary Matt Journeaux, MPs Brittany Lauga, Jim Pearce and Bill Byrne, and landowner/action group leader Philippa Rea.


Many were outraged at the absence of Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Deputy Premier Barnaby Joyce and Senator Matt Canavan.

While Ms Lauga said Mr Canavan did not respond to her invitation to the rally, his media advisor was spotted at the event.

In an impassioned address to the room, Premier Palaszczuk vowed to fight on land, air and sea for the rights of the region's landowners, and the state's cattle industry.

"What I want to say to you tonight is that this issue makes no sense to me in terms of what the Federal Government have done. No sense at all," she said.

"We will fight this as one. And I tell you what, we will give this a bloody good shot.

"I have called on (Prime Minister) Turnbull to bring the first COAG meeting to Rockhampton so you can tell him how you feel. You can't make decisions in Canberra without getting out here to Central Queensland.

"If he has any guts he will come here and face you."

But it was landowner Philippa Rea whose words resonated throughout the crowd the most, and prompted emotional outbursts from the attendees.

Ms Rea and her husband Clinton own a cattle property, which has been highlighted by the Defence Force as 'likely' to be acquired for expansion.

"This is a nightmare, and one from which we do not seem to be able to wake up. This flies in the face of who we are as Australians," she said.

"This is a shameful act by Australia, against Australians.

"Central Queensland is our Castle, and we will defend it."
 

EARLIER: MEATWORKERS will join around 500 protesters tonight, in a rally against the planned defence expansion of Shoalwater Bay.

A spokesperson from Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said hundreds were expected to attend the rally organised by the MP, after weeks of controversy over the move and the involuntary acquisition of land.

It has been estimated that if the expansion goes ahead, a minimum of 50,000 head of cattle will be removed from the local supply chain, resulting in a negative flow on effect for local jobs and businesses in Central Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will be attending, flanked by other Labor politicians including Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne.

Livingstone Shire Council members are also expected to attend, and attendees will hear from affected landowners, businesses, workers and union representatives.

Australasian Meat Industry Employee's Union Central Region organiser Paul Jensen confirmed his attendance today, in addition to Branch Secretary Matt Journeaux and Assistant Secretary Ian McLauchlan.

"This will greatly affect both the meatworks and the saleyards," Mr Jensen said.

The Morning Bulletin will be reporting live from the rally tonight, follow the #shoalwaterrally hashtag on Twitter.



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