Rees R and Sydney Jones have just under 20 clients living in the expansion area which stretches as far north as Styx River.
Rees R and Sydney Jones have just under 20 clients living in the expansion area which stretches as far north as Styx River. CPL Dan Pinhorn

Shoalwater expansion land buy up raises concerns

THE FULL impact on property owners in the Shoalwater Bay will not be known until March 2017.

Melanie Findlay of Rees R and Sydney Jones lawyers met with Defence Department representatives in Marlborough yesterday to find out what was going on with the Australia Singapore Military Training Initiative on behalf their clients.

Rees R and Sydney Jones have just under 20 clients living in the expansion area which stretches as far north as Styx River.

Ms Findlay said the land in the blue area would definitely been part of the expansion of Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

"They are currently doing a master plan to look at what the facilities might look like in the area,” she said.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne told The Bulletin early last month that master plans for both Townsville and Shoalwater were being developed concurrently with the detailed business plan.

Ms Findlay said the department explained once that was completed in March, they would then consult with the Singaporeans about what else they would need.

"That's when we will know if they will need the 'potential area',” she said.

From there, the Department would need to do a business plan and that would be when they can start the resumption of land process, she explained.

However, the Department prefers to purchase land that is available voluntarily because they only have a certain amount of time to obtain the land and meet the timeframe the Australian and Singapore Government agreed on when signing the Memorandum of Understanding in October.

This timeline has Ms Findlay concerned about the impact the agriculture property market with an influx of property buyers from Central Queensland and Charters Towers looking buy replacement properties in a short period of time.

She explained they would only have a certain amount of time after selling their land to the Department of Defence to buy replacement properties if they qualify for certain capital gains tax roll-over relief.

So far, the department has purchased at least two properties in the area including one that sold for over $40 million.

The other property, which The Bulletin reported on November 4 as being under contract, was about 540,717 sq m and located in Marlborough area.

Ms Findlay said she was advised a brochure about the timeframes for the planning and the negotiations with landowners would

would be available online www.defence.gov.au/

Initiatives/Singapore

Training/Notices.asp once the consultations in Marlborough and Charters Towers were complete next week.

She said there were also concerns the Marlborough State School could close down with the influx of families leaving the area after being bought out.



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