Shoalwater decision a win for farmers: Canavan
SENATOR Matt Canavan has aligned his position on forced land acquisitions with the Prime Minister's just days after he refused to rule them out.
Last week Mr Canavan said the Government had purchased land against owners' will for the Cultana training facility in South Australia, and Queensland may have to follow suit in the proposed 162,000ha land grab.
But the Rockhampton-based Senator welcomed Malcolm Turnbull's announcement yesterday "any sales will be by willing vendors".
Mr Canavan declared the PM's intervention a win for small business, farmers and fellow party members, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd.
"I just wanted to say a couple of things today: that on the first day of Parliament, it's been great news for small businesses and farmers in Queensland," Mr Canavan said during a media doorstop this morning.
"Over summer, I've had four separate trips to the Charters Towers and the Marlborough/Shoalwater Bay regions.
"I've heard numerous concerns about Defence Force proposals to acquire land in those areas, concerns about potentially the compulsory nature about it and concerns about the way these have been put forward.
"So I very much welcome the intervention of the Prime Minister to rule out any forced sales of property in these areas. It's a win for farmers in Central Queensland. It's a win for Michelle Landry and Ken O'Dowd, who've been pushing for this outcome and it shows that the Government does listen.
"These were always simply proposals that we had put forward, that Defence had put forward.
"They were out there for consultation. We've done that consultation, we've listened to people and then we've acted and we've taken those acquisitions off the table."
Mr Canavan was contacted for comment on the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday, but he referred enquiries to Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne yesterday said the U-turn was a "humiliating climb-down" for Mr Canavan, bugt celebrated the determination of graziers and the local community.
"The sense of betrayal in Marlborough and Rockhampton was palpable and the political pressure we were able to exert proved irresistible," Mr Byrne said.
Fellow Labor representative Keppel MP Brittany Lauga urged the compulsory land acquisition process be dumped.
This morning Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk renewed her call for the Prime Minister to visit those affected by the proposal.