Cape York mooted for foreign military training expansion

MILLIONS of hectares of undeveloped land on Cape York Peninsula would be ideal for the Australian Defence Force’s plans to expand military training operations, rather than compulsory acquiring prime agricultural land, a Cape York advocate says.
The defence department is targeting prime agricultural land in Charters Towers and Marlborough, by acquisition if necessary, to expand military training operations as part of the $2.5 billion Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
With a strong movement of impacted landowners and key state and national agricultural lobbies taking up the fight to pressure the Federal Government to reverse the decision, Cape York advocate and property rights solicitor David Kempton said Cape York Peninsula would be ideal for military training. This includes an unused RAAF base at Weipa.
“We have got millions of hectares of undeveloped land up here that could be used,” Mr Kempton said.
“It would provide infrastructure and employment opportunities for indigenous people and we are not going to take up prime farming land.”
But a defence spokesman said identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the ADF.
He said Shoalwater Bay and Townsville Field Training Areas were two of the most heavily-used and sought-after training areas and were chosen because of their size and proximity to major ADF force locations and east coast centres.
“Singapore delegations and defence visited other defence training areas in South Australia and the Northern Territory, but these were considered unsuitable for training requirements,” the spokesman said.
“Shoalwater Bay Training Area’s ocean access means it is one of the only training areas in Australia that can support amphibious operations training. 
“Shoalwater Bay and Townsville Field Training Area have the capacity to support current and future Australian Defence Force training needs.”
Mr Kempton said the federal government’s current proposal was “short and ill-considered”.
“They need to go back to the drawing board,” Mr Kempton said.
“This area is ideal for training.
“It would create economic advancement for indigenous people and it’s not going to take up prime agricultural land and that’s my big beef. It’s not going to displace any families.
“We are not acquiring suburban houses for a railway line; this is taking up hundreds of thousands of hectares of land that’s prime agricultural land that has been in these families for generations and it’s being cast aside.
“One person said oh they are paid fair compensation but what is fair compensation.
“Fair compensation is a fair price is between a willing buyer and seller – there is no willing seller here, not in the current agricultural climate.
“People have been waiting years and years for an opportunity and now they are faced with this 
“We are trying to compete in a world economy in agriculture and we can’t even keep up and yet we are going to take hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land and put into a short term military training base.
“I think that is contrary to what the whole northern development process is all about.”
National Farmers Federation and AgForce representatives met with Charter Towers landholders on Tuesday impacted by the government’s compulsory land acquisition.

 National Farmers Federation and AgForce representatives met with Charter Towers landholders on Tuesday impacted by the government’s compulsory land acquisition.
The defence spokesman said it was important to note that the Australian Government’s work to date on the expansion of the Townsville Field Training Area and Shoalwater Bay Training Area reflected initial planning only, and was subject to further consideration and planning activities.
“This includes a social and economic impact assessment, which is being conducted by KPMG, and in consultation with landholders, leaseholders and community members,” the spokesman said. 
“All affected stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide input into the assessment.
“To date, 78 consultations with 186 landowners, leaseholders and community members have been held, and a second round of consultations is planned for early 2017. 
“Defence takes the concerns of the local community seriously and will consider the views and feedback provided.”
Defence will conduct a master planning activity in 2017 and will propose any required expansion areas for Government consideration in the second half of 2017. 
The spokesman said defence would only propose the acquisition of land to Government if it was absolutely necessary to meet military training requirements.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Diane Wilson says:

    It’s patently obvious that the Defence Force is run by traitors as gutless as malcolm turdbul and his cronies. They approved the leasing? of Darwin Harbour to the murderous chinese and apart from the fact that foreign troops are training in OUR country, they apparently have a say in where the training grounds are going to be. God help our children and grandchildren because they are going to be slaves of every bastard country on earth.


  2. This must not be allowed to go ahead.It is obscene


  3. B edhouse says:

    Cape York land is indigenous so political dynamitw


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