Queensland national park land facing resumption for Defence base expansion, Minister says
29th Jan 2017
About 5,000 hectares of national park and conservation land in central Queensland is included in an extensive area facing Federal Government acquisition for a military base expansion, the State Government says.
The Defence Department is aiming to take over a swathe of land around Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton, under Australian Defence Force plans to accommodate more than 14,000 Singaporean troops who will be training in the region.
Last week, the Queensland Government condemned the plan, saying it could mean the state lost grazing land for about 100,000 head of cattle.
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said the State Government was not made aware of the extent of land required under the deal, and that it would devastate the Queensland beef industry.
National Parks Minister Steven Miles has gone further, saying the plan also involves acquiring conservation areas including national parks.
“That’s 5,000 less hectares that will be part of Queensland’s protected area estate if Malcolm Turnbull has his way,” Dr Miles said.
“We’re very concerned about that plan and what could happen to that conservation land, including the 11 endangered species that call that conservation park home.
“It will also isolate another 540 hectares of conservation park, leaving it disjointed from the rest of our protected areas.
“That can leave wildlife isolated, unable to travel through the corridors that they’re used to travelling through.”
“It can leave genetic pools isolated and really threaten the survival of certain species.”
Dr Miles said he had written to the Commonwealth demanding a briefing on the details of the plan.
“This is land that’s currently protected, and if by acquiring it they intend to clear it we’d be very, very concerned.”
“Usually when national park needs to be rescinded and used for some other purpose we have a five-to-one compensation arrangement.”
Defence Minister Marise Payne has been contacted for comment.