Environment Minister attacks proposed Defence Department land grab at Shoalwater Bay
Published Sunday, 29 January, 2017 at 09:15 AM
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles
The Palaszczuk Government has slammed Federal moves to include more than 5000 hectares of environmentally significant public land in Central Queensland into Shoalwater Bay’s defence training grounds.
Minister for Environment and National Parks Dr Steven Miles today revealed the State Government had requested an urgent meeting with the Department of Defence to raise concerns about the proposed “occupation’ of the land.
“This is definitely worth fighting for because not only is it public land, it is home to a variety of flora and fauna species of conservation significance,” Dr Miles said in Rockhampton today (Sunday).
“I have written to Federal Defence Minister, Marise Payne, to request an urgent briefing from the Defence Department about our concerns.
“Apart from writing to the Federal Minister, my department has also requested a meeting with the Department of Defence on the proposed training area expansion, and implications for the protected area and forest estate.
“The proposed expansion includes the potential acquisition of 4244 hectares of Queensland protected area across Shoalwater Bay and Bukkulla Conservation Parks, and Mount O’Connell National Park.
“Another 1,035 hectares of Marlborough State Forest could become part of the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay military training area.
“These protected areas and forest estate include 14 regional ecosystems of biodiversity significance for Queensland.
“They are home to 11 flora and fauna species of State conservation significance.
“These include two endangered species of Cycad, six vulnerable species including the Beach Stone Curlew and Black-breasted Button-Quail, and three near-threatened tree and shrub species,” he said.
Dr Miles said the Commonwealth’s proposed expansion would “isolate’ another 542 hectares of Charon Point Conservation Park from management and public access.
The Australian Government can acquire Queensland Government owned land by enacting the compulsory acquisition powers of the Commonwealth Land Acquisition Act 1989.
“While the Commonwealth has the power under existing legislation to acquire state owned land, we would expect the Department of Defence to undertake an appropriate assessment to minimise environment impacts,” Dr Miles said.
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