SHOALWATER: What we stand to gain from military expansion

UPDATE 2PM: THE $1 billion deal to expand Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area has become a political hot potato, with pressure from all sides to either move ahead or halt the forced acquisition of land.

At  4545km sq, the training area is already more than six times the size of Singapore itself at 719km sq.

Jobs, international relations, emotional impact on land owners and the local economy have all come into play since the deal was announced in May, 2016.

But what do we stand to win or lose if the Shoalwater expansion goes ahead?

Find out the pros and cons for both sides here.

A map showing the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion zone
A map showing the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion zone


UPDATE 1PM: QUEENSLAND Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has described the process of proposed compulsory acquisitions at Marlborough as "a ham-fisted" mess.

As protests from landowners who faced losing their livelihoods to the expansion of Shoalwater Bay military training area grew louder, Mr Nicholls urgently contacted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and implored him to personally intervene.

It seems his appeal paid dividends, with Mr Turnbull agreeing to look at alternative solutions during a phone call on Monday night.

LISTEN: 'We will push the government to get a real solution': Tim Nicholls.

LNP Leader Tim Nicholls in Rockhampton.
LNP Leader Tim Nicholls in Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK070916ccarpark1

UPDATE 12.45PM: KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga has accused the Prime Minister of doing "an amazing cirque du soleil back flip" on the planned Shoalwater expansion.

Earllier today, Mrs Lauga held a media conference where she accused the government of moving to take the political heat out of the current situation.

"It's certainly very interesting to hear the Turnbull government today saying they are going to look at alternative sites for expanding the military training area," Mrs Lauga said.

"I think that the Prime Minister and the LNP want to take the heat of this issue in the lead up to the first week in the Federal Parliament and I think given that he hasn't ruled out compulsory acquisition, this issue is not done and dusted yet."

READ: 'The fight is not over': Keppel MP


UPDATE 11.45AM: AGFORCE has 'cautiously' welcomed Malcolm Turnbull's intervention in the proposed acquisition of properties as part of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion. 

AgForce told The Morning Bulletin they were 'eager' to hear what the alternatives are. 

UPDATE 11AM: DON'T worry, the Federal LNP have not gone MIA on Shoalwater Bay.

The Morning Bulletin has put in calls to Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and her office as well as those of the Prime Minister and Defence Minister, and Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan.

Mr Canavan's office has just advised they will provide information on the matter within the hour.

The Morning Bulletin await a response from all parties.

UPDATE 10.30AM: PRIME Minister Malcom Turnbull needs to take forced Shoalwater acquisitions off the table, Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig says. 

He says a middle ground needs to be found.

"Number one they need to do first is to take forced acquisitions off the table," Cr Ludwig said.

"I can't find anyone in our community that is supporting the compulsory acquisitions and that is what is sticking in people's throats." 

UPDATE 10.10AM: OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten has some fighting words for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the Shoalwater expansion.

The Labor leader this morning released a letter he penned to the PM, urging he meet with devastated families immediately.

His call to action follows reported orders from Mr Turnbull that alternate sites be scouted.

In a lengthy letter, Mr Shorten reaffirmed his party's commitment to getting a fair deal for the graziers.


John Partridge at the rally opposing the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training area at the Lakes Creek Hotel in Rockhampton.
John Partridge at the rally opposing the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Training area at the Lakes Creek Hotel in Rockhampton. Chris Ison

UPDATE 9.30AM: Landowners have slammed an announcement today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that the Department of Defence must look for alternatives for its Shoalwater Bay expansion.

Mr Turnbull announced this morning that he would intervene in the controversial forced land acquisition.

Landowners are demanding compulsory acquisition be scrapped.

" I think it's an utter joke," Malborough Motors owner Danii McKenzie told The Morning Bulletin.

"They are trying to diffuse the heat from this situation."


Proposed expansion for Shoalwater Bay.
Proposed expansion for Shoalwater Bay. Contributed ROK301116Shoalwater1

8AM: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in the proposed forced acquisition of land at Shoalwater Bay for Department of Defence activities.

Mr Turnbull has ordered Defence to scout alternative areas for expanded military training grounds earmarked for CQ farming land.

It came after a request to the PM's office by Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls.

"We need good relations with allies such as Singapore and the expansion would provide a significant economic boost to local communities but it is equally important to look after our farmers and graziers," Mr Nicholls said.

It comes after hundreds protested the Shoalwater acquisition in Rockhampton overnight.

Supplied image obtained Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 of 2CAV ASLAVs on patrol during a live-fire training activity in the Shoalwater Bay training area during Exercise Predator's Strike. Mid-caption: Units from the Darwin-based 1st Brigade conducted Exercise Predator's Strike from 28 June to 10 July 2011 at Shoalwater Bay in central Queensland to prove the war-fighting skills of the battle group in the lead up to Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. Predator's Strike combined 1st Brigade units into a potent battle group that included 1st Armoured Regiment M1A1 Abrams tanks, 2nd Cavalry Regiment Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs), 5th and 7th Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment mechanised infantry mounted in M113AS4 armoured fighting vehicles, forward observers from the 8th/12th Regiment and elements from 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, 1st Combat Signal Regiment and 1st Combat Service Support Battalion.1st Brigade has a distinguished history that includes five Victoria Cross winners, battle honours from Gallipoli and the Western Front, Vietnam, Iraq, East Timor and Afghanistan, and its soldiers are poised and ready to respond to a range of threats and regional events on behalf of the Australian Government. Based in Darwin at Robertson Barracks, 1st Brigade is the Australian Army's light armoured brigade. More than 3400 civilian and military personnel support 1st Brigade at Robertson Barracks. (The 7th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment - including support elements from other 1st Brigade units - is based at RAAF Edinburgh, outside Adelaide, South Australia.) Exercise Talisman Sabre (11-29 July 2011) is a major bilateral exercise designed to train Australian and United States forces in planning and conducting combined operations in order to improve Australian-US combat readiness and interoperability. (AAP Image/Australian Department of Defence, LSIS Andrew Dakin) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Department of Defence has been told to look elsewhere for training activities. ANDREW DAKIN


>> We need Shoalwater military expansion 'like a hole in the head'

>> Defence force in discussion with Shoalwater property owners

>> Shoalwater expansion will inject billions into Central Qld

>> Hundreds angry and upset at Shoalwater rally


Shoalwater Rally: Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk lends her support to opposition to expansion of the Shoalwater Bay training area which she says will cost prime cattle producing country with significant flow on affects which will see local jobs lost.