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Mission accomplished – farmers in Queensland saved from defence land grab

Queensland farmers are breathing a sigh relief after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby ruled out compulsory acquiring their land in an announcement at Parliament House Canberra yesterday.

Sixty-five landholders, 300,000 hectares and up to 100,000 head of cattle had been at the mercy of the Government’s plan to extend defence training facilities in the Charters Towers and Marlborough, as part of a deal between the Australia and Singapore.

Since the plans were revealed during late November 2016, the National Farmers’ Federation and AgForce Queensland have been fighting to halt the forced acquisitions.

More than 1400 people joined the fight by supporting the #defendourfarms campaign by sending an email directly to Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne telling the Government to retreat from their land grab plans.  The Government’s decision will enable farmers considering selling to negotiate to do so if they wish.

National Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the announcement ended weeks of anguish for the Queensland farming families and the communities they support.

 “We are immensely relieved that the Government has acted to remove the threat of forced acquisition and to prioritise farming land for agricultural purposes.

 “Agricultural is a pillar of our national economy. Australian farmers deserve to be able to go about their work of growing food and fibre for the world without fear of unjust Government land grabs such as this.”

“We now look forward to working with the Government to determine a fair process for those farmers who do want to negotiate the sale of their property to the Department of Defence,” Mr Mahar said.

 

Video: Tony Mahar, CEO of NFF, on @ABCNews24, 7 February 2017 after Government abandons plans to compulsorily acquire farmland.

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