In the lead-up to election-day questions remain unanswered as to how the negative community impacts of the massive Australian Defence Forces (ADF) ‘land-grab’ at Shoalwater Bay will be addressed.
“Three years on and one week out from polling day the community are still waiting for answers to some major questions about the impacts of ADF’s plans to expand Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area (SWBTA) so more foreign troops can train there,” Mayor Bill Ludwig said.
“With due respect revelations of extent of the vast areas of highly productive beef land that ADF have already acquired still require appropriate answers to those outstanding questions from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“The Council and our community deserve answers to issues that will impact so heavily on ratepayers financially and on the future of the small Townships of Marlborough and Stanage Bay.
“Only days ago Dep PM Michael McCormack made this statement in regard to one of our questions relation to ‘forced acquisitions of remain cattle properties:
“The fact is we're not going to make sure that we restrict Defence's ability to do its job in any way, shape, or form. And if there needs to be land acquisitions, whether it's Defence or whether it's other areas of critical importance to Australia, such as building rail, such as building ports, sometimes rightly or wrongly we sometimes need to acquire land compulsorily.
“Mr McCormack’s response raises serious concerns to our community about the Governments position on this and other unanswered questions.
“If this election is about trust, after three years of detailed planning by ADF and the Federal Government, Livingstone ratepayers and residents have a right to know and get detailed answers to the following five questions."
1. Exactly what plans have been put in place to address the accumulative impacts on Livingstone ratepayers through loss of rates revenue, $35 million loss from the regional beef industry and the direct social and economic impacts on both Marlborough and Stanage Bay townships?
2. If re-elected to Federal Government does the Coalition ADF making a fair contribution to maintaining the local roads they use?
3. How much of the promised $1 billion touted to bring economic benefits will be left following the huge amount spent on acquiring the vast areas of highly productive grazing properties so far?
4. What will the operational impacts be on the handful of primary producers left in those areas?
5. Will the Coalition guarantee that it will not revert to forced acquisitions again to squeeze out remaining property owners?