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The Palaszczuk Government will continue to stand up for primary producers in central and north Queensland who face being forced from their properties, says Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne.
"In contrast the LNP in Queensland appear to have turned their backs on graziers and are backing their colleagues in Canberra rather than standing up for farmers whoface being forced from their properties against their will so the land can be used for training by the Singaporean military.
“What the Turnbull Government is doing is entirely without justification,” the Minister said.
"Scores of graziers face the compulsory acquisition of their land so the military training areas at Shoalwater Bay and Townsville can be expanded for use by Singapore.
“But instead of defending the rights of property owners, the National Party leadership in Queensland has been completely silent.
“The only comment so far from a member of the LNP’s front bench is from Natural Resources spokesman Andrew Cripps, and all he has done is criticise me for the stance the Palaszczuk Government has taken in support of the graziers, of the threatened communities and the jobs of those who work in the cattle and meat processing sectors.
“For Mr Cripps it is obviously far more important to have a dig at me and the Government than it is to defend Queenslanders who face losing their land and businesses.
“We are talking here about a shonky, rushed process to resume some of this state’s best grazing properties.
“We are talking about ripping an estimated 100,000 cattle from the supply chain.
“But the LNP in Queensland has turned its back on its heartland and is condoning this injustice rather than condemning it.
“The only LNP MP who has had the gumption to speak out is Jason Costigan.
“The Member for Whitsunday took to Facebook to say the ‘beef capital needs that like a hole in the head’.
“He was honest enough to call it a massive land grab that had been poorly handled.
“He went on ‘the property rights of individuals is a cornerstone of LNP policy and that needs to be respected here’.
“What a pity his senior colleagues don’t have the guts to stand up to their federal colleagues in Canberra and insist they rule out compulsory acquisitions immediately.”
Minister Byrne said the Palaszczuk Government had commissioned AgForce to fast-track a report on the impact of the expansion on the cattle supply chain because it was clear that the Turnbull Government had no intention to properly consider the economic consequences of its trade deal with Singapore.
“They say that a KPMG study is being fast-tracked but the clock is ticking on Defence Minister Marise Payne’s extraordinary four week deadline to decide which properties must be surrendered.
“So far the Queensland Government has not been provided the scope or terms of reference for that KPMG study.
“I have no confidence that a report worthy of the name can be completed in such a short space of time that adequately considers the far-reaching environmental impacts, economic impacts and social impacts of such massive expansions.
“Will KPMG’s study consider the impact on local business, roads, the viability of local schools and businesses in Marlborough and other communities once they have been de-populated and the main industry has been wiped-out?
“What about health services and land and water management? There are far too many questions to be investigated than can possibly be addressed in a matter of weeks.
“Frankly it is a scandal that no senior state LNP politicians have met with the property owners who have made it very clear that they don’t want to leave their land.
“Their silence is an admission that they have abandoned these producers to their fate.
“In contrast the Palaszczuk Government will continue to fight this unjustifiable land grab.”