Politicians from both sides of the aisle in the Australian state of Queensland on Monday, called for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to step in and help farmers affected by the expansion of the defence forces training facility at Shoalwater Bay.
The several thousand hectares of land is set to be acquired by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), to expand their facilities as part of a training co-operative with Singapore.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the government in Queensland was “angry” about the manner in which the ADF has so far handled the acquisition.
“This was done without consultation with the local community,” Palaszczuk said.
“What the federal government has done is basically turned their back on these families.”
The leader of Queensland’s opposition party echoed the sentiments of Palaszczuk, and insisted the ADF had mishandled the situation from the very beginning.
“Australia’s defence and good relations with our allies such as Singapore are of course important, but the process the ADF has undertaken has been confusing, muddled and needs a rethink,” Nicholls said.
“The ADF has dropped the ball on this, and clearly hasn’t communicated the process to the potentially affected landowners, or successfully justified the acquisitions to the wider community.”
The approval to upgrade the land for the joint Singapore and Australian defence initiatives is set to be granted by the government in the second half of the year.
– Will Koulouris