The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are now clearly aware of emotional and financial plight facing landholders in the Shoalwater Bay district – where Defence want to acquire more land for military training.
In private conversations with Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce, Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry did not mince her words when she clearly outlined the concerns of locals “in no uncertain terms”.
The issue relates to Defence’s desire to expand the Shoalwater Bay military training ground with a $1 billion investment from Singapore, which would double its use of the facility.
“This is a serious issue impacting on rural constituents. I have been out to some of the properties and to the township of Marlborough, and I have consistently said that I will ensure the people’s voice is made known to the highest level government,” Ms Landry said.
“I did not beat around the bush when I spoke to them separately. Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce now fully understand the upheaval that defence has caused to long time landholders, workers and small business.”
The hard-working MP said that she communicated the message personally to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as they would be directly involved in making future decisions about the defence zone in their roles on Australia’s National Security Committee.
“They are the Chair and Deputy Chair of the National Security Committee respectively, and I made it very clear that local people, their families, livelihoods and homes come first. I made it clear that bureaucrats and the National Security Council in Canberra had no idea of the devastation that has been sprung on people’s lives in this area.
“I made it very clear that our government must be both humane and compassionate in resolving concerns one on one with every relevant landholder, so that those land owners are satisfied with any arrangements before they are approved by the nation’s Security Committee or by Cabinet,” Ms Landry said
“The $2.25 billion Singapore investment into the Queensland economy is both extraordinary and important to the overall national security planning. There are also major opportunities for businesses in places like Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, potentially worth millions of dollars annually.
“However, I told the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister that the investment plan and Singapore’s needs must be put on ice until the needs and desire of local landholders, caught in the firing line, are acknowledged and reach an amicable outcome.
“I have received many calls and letters and had many private meetings with people who will be impacted in the Marlborough area by defence. I have heard and understand their pain and I will continue to ensure their voice is heard in Canberra,” Ms Landry said.