AUSTRALIA - A Department of Defence plan to take land from Queensland farming families so Singaporean soldiers can train more often in Australia is yet another example of Governments disregarding the importance of maintaining agricultural country for food production, AgForce said last week.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said landholders in Central and North Queensland were angry and outraged at the prospect of losing land that had been in their family for generations, while businesses feared the expansion plans could turn their local communities into ghost towns.
“Agriculture has long been a cornerstone of the Queensland economy and a vital contributor to our society, providing tens of thousands of jobs in regional, rural and remote communities,” he said.
“However, agricultural country is constantly being taken off landholders for a variety of reasons – for national park expansions, for mining developments, for urban sprawl, and now more farm land could be lost so an overseas army can come and blow up bombs there.
“It highlights how Governments don’t understand what it takes to produce food and fibre in this country. Politicians just don’t get it.”
Mr Maudsley said he would be attending a community meeting at the Marlborough Town Hall at 3pm today with AgForce Central Queensland President John Baker to hear from landholders and local businesses affected by the Department of Defence’s expansion plans.
“AgForce is vehemently opposed to any compulsory acquisition of agricultural land for the purpose of Defence expansions,” he said.
“We are well aware the Federal Government has the power to enforce compulsory acquisitions, but we believe forcing agricultural producers off their land for the benefit of the Singaporean army is an abuse of that power.
“AgForce will continue to do everything possible to assist affected landholders during this difficult and uncertain time, and we will do everything we can to ensure politicians understand and listen to landholders’ concerns about the devastating impact this will have on their families and local communities.”
AgForce organised an information session in Marlborough in December so affected landholders could discuss their legal, valuation and financial options with experts, and a similar session was being planned at the Charters Towers Golf Club on 17 January for affected landholders in North Queensland.
TheCattleSite News Desk