Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment watch on as United States Marine Corps C-130 Hercules, AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1Y Venom aircraft prepares to depart. Aircraft noise related to the military exercise has caused issues for CQ graziers.
Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment watch on as United States Marine Corps C-130 Hercules, AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1Y Venom aircraft prepares to depart. Aircraft noise related to the military exercise has caused issues for CQ graziers. LSIS Jake Badior

UPDATE: CQ farmers fire up as military aircraft cause livestock chaos

UPDATE: The Defence Department has been made aware of CQ farmers' concerns about aircraft activities as part of the Talisman Saber military exercise at Shoalwater Bay, a spokesman has confirmed.

A Defence spokesman said the department had been "working with relevant agencies in the lead up to the exercise and during to ensure the safe conduct of all flying operations”.

Yesterday, concerned property owners expressed their concerns about aircraft noise spooking livestock and disrupting the mustering process.

The were fears for the safety of workers mustering.

Graziers said a petition had been lodged requesting military aircraft not use the air space above the properties up to 2500 feet.

"All concerns raised by the community are taken seriously and are incorporated into our operational planning where appropriate,” the Defence spokesman said.

"Defence is addressing concerns raised by graziers in the area in relation to low-level flying and has implemented a release through Airservices Australia providing the procedures for requesting a Restricted Operating Zone (ROZ) for the purpose of safe conduct of mustering activities.

"This information has also been provided to specific residents that have expressed concern on this issue.”

INITIAL REPORT: WATCHING on from her house, Latisha Mace witnessed a massive air force plane fly near tree level causing her cattle to take flight as they were being mustered.

The grazier family at Toorilla Plains, on the Stanage Bay Road, are situated in the middle of the flying path of aircraft taking part in Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 in Shoalwater Bay.

Mrs Mace said the planes had caused numerous safety issues for staff and livestock.

Craig and Latisha Mace with their two children on their property which has been in the family for 90 years.
Craig and Latisha Mace with their two children on their property which has been in the family for 90 years. Toorilla Plains

Even during the interview with The Morning Bulletin, an Army aircraft could be heard flying over the property drowning out Mrs Mace's conversation.

READ: PM move to scrap forced Shoalwater acquisitions a victory for landholders.

"We all use the airspace too, our neighbours use helicopters for mustering and that puts them at risk,” Mrs Mace explained.

"There are light aircraft used for commuting between properties so the turbulence from the army planes is also a problem.”

She said graziers in the area were also struggling with the noise from the aircraft spooking their animals and disrupting the mustering process which could lead to fence line damage and livestock loss.

The safety of workers mustering is a huge concern if these animals take flight as it could lead to serious injuries.

An aerial view of the homestead at Toorilla Plains which runs 2500 head of cattle.
An aerial view of the homestead at Toorilla Plains which runs 2500 head of cattle. Toorilla Plains

Mrs Mace explained there had not been any notice to property owners of the activity and even after countless attempts to contact Civil Aviation Safety Authority there had been no solution to ease their concerns.

"Graziers from the region have lodged a petition requesting they don't use the air space above the properties up to 2500 feet,” Mrs Mace said.

"We have lodged concerns with the Department of Defence... they have made an assessment but nothing is changing.

"We are constantly coming up blank.”

Neighbouring property owner, Ralph Bartlem, is eager for a solution so both graziers and the Army can use the airspace harmoniously.

"We will happily coexist with the Australian Defence Force but will not be taken for granted,” he said.

"We deserve the courtesy of the ADF coming to us to organise an organised schedule so this can happen.”



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