The Australian Defence Force plans to expand training operations into prime central Queensland cattle country, raising concerns about the economic and social impacts.
The Australian Defence Force plans to expand training operations into prime central Queensland cattle country, raising concerns about the economic and social impacts. Kathleen Calderwood

SHOALWATER UPDATE: Military puts a bullet in CQ small business

UPDATE: 12.15 MIRANI MP Jim Pearce says he isn't aware of any economic or social impact studies into the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"They should hang their heads in shame if they haven't...that's a takeover and Australian business doesn't work that way,” he says.

Mr Pearce says, without being aware of the data, that the amount of money coming off the proposed takeover land annually and into the future would put the Shoalwater expansion well behind.

"After a one-off injection of funds, the only money being spent is by the visiting forces at the time of the exercises...the cattle industry spends money every day of the year,” he says.

"People are being impacted and the whole community should be fighting the keep the land in the hands of graziers and beef producers.

"This is no corner block...it is top quality beef producing country.

"These families have grown up on this land, they've improved the land and put their blood, sweat and tears into it.

"For the government to be involved in a takeover is unacceptable and we need to stand beside these farmers.

"There is a lot of food being produced and exported from these properties...now and into the future.”

EARLIER: MIRANI MP Jim Pearce this morning issued an urgent call to the Federal Government to reconsider plans to further develop Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

The calls comes as affected land and business owners plan a public meeting on Monday saying the economic impacts will destroy the town and have a negative impact on Rockhampton's economy.

Property Rights Australia has been invited to address a public meeting on Monday, which has an impressive RSVP list from relevant politicians.

Chairman Dale Stiller say the very large economic and social multiplier effects are becoming more apparent with plans to take over 40 highly productive cattle properties.

"These properties are an important component of an entire vibrant region,” he said.

"People talk about a ripple affect but I'm sure a full impact study will reveal a tidal wave of trade impacts in some sectors, and given time, even Rockhampton will feel the effects.”

Mr Stiller says in any farming operation, the biggest time and input is maintenance.

"It's not just the big ticket issues; landowners buy a lot of hardware, fencing materials and parts and that goes across many small businesses.

"In 2016 shifts were dropped at the meatworks in Rockhampton and that was from a lack of cattle supply.

"Estimates are there's between 60,000 - 100,000 head of cattle in the expansion area...that has to impact supply.”

A map showing the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion zone
A map showing the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion zone

Small business owners in the town say they have been overlooked with no compensation being offered to them.

Marlborough Motors owner, Danii McKenzie says the 40 acquisition letters sent out represents 40 clients, which equals about 70 percent of the business.

"The pub, the convenience shop and the produce store all stand to lose a significant amount of their business and the post office will lose its mail run,” she says.

In a series of one-on-one meetings with ADF personnel, small business owners were told that, unlike landowners, they won't be compensated.

"We were able to meet with them, but others were told they'd run out of time and there's no point anyway,” Mrs MacKenzie says.

"All these studies should have been done before the Defence Force jumped in.”

The Morning Bulletin is seeking a response from the Department of Defence.

Public Meeting

- Marlborough Town Hall, Monday at 3pm

RSVP

- Senator Matthew Canavan, Member for Mirani Jim Pearce, Senator Pauline Hanson, Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, Livingstone mayor Bill Ludwig, Livingstone Shire Councillors. Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry is overseas and is sending a representative.



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