A GRAZIER impacted by the proposed Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion has suggested we stop calling the region the Beef Capital and cancel Beef Week if the expansion goes ahead.
Pip Rea raised the suggestion at the public meeting in Marlborough on Monday, saying the amount of beef that would be removed from the region as a result of the expansion risks the credibility the region could still lay claim to being the Beef Capital.
She also suggested Rockhampton remove its bull statues at the same time.
AgForce revealed figures in December they had crunched about the number of cattle that could be removed from the region as a result of expansion.
Central Regional Manager Sharon Howard says the numbers show about 70,000 head of cattle will be lost to the beef industry. Read more here: REVEALED: How CQ could lose 60,000 head of cattle in a year
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne this week said losing 60,000 head of cattle mattered.
"I have a record of taking a stand to support Central Queensland's value-adding meatworks and the permanent jobs they support,” he said.
"This proposal will harm the entire supply chain.
"The permanent loss of local cattle numbers will be felt immediately in the cattle processing sector and that will have long-term consequences for the local economy.”
Mrs Rea pointed out that the Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce declared this 'the golden era for agriculture.'
"It did not just happen by chance or by accident,” she said.
"We - hard work, smart business practise, and nature together - have created this golden era.”
"Our own national anthem tells us "we have golden soil and wealth for toil” and yet this land that our forefathers tamed and created into what is known as the Beef Capital of Australia is to be plucked like a ripe fruit from our hands and turned into bomb-practise targets, not just for our own Australian forces, but for another country's war games.
"We are Australian. We stand under a flag which proudly espouses nature's gifts - "of beauty rich and rare".
"Are we to stand by and watch this wondrous beautiful piece of land, our rivers, our creeks, our land, our wildlife and our Reef be turned into cannon and mortar fodder?
"Are our politicians going to stand by and let this happen? If that is the case, then perhaps then we need to sit down, and we need to start rewriting our National Anthem - perhaps start with some of the parts that mention ''our land abounds in nature's gifts' and add 'but only until the government decides that a free trade deal is more important and we will force people from their land so another country can train their army here because that's more important than agriculture'.
"It's going to take a heck of a song-writer to work that into a tune and I'm not sure it will be as easy to sing... Perhaps an easier first option would be to abolish Beef Week - can't have Beef Week or a Beef Capital if you're going to wipe out tens of thousands of beef cattle... then demolish the four bulls proudly standing at the outskirts of Rockhampton, and replace them with an Anzac style catapult of Singapore army personnel...”
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