ONE Federal MP is calling on the Australian Defence Force to either use their large block of land in Springfield or hand it back to the community.
The 137ha parcel of defence land which sits adjacent to Woodcrest State College and beside the Centenary Motorway, would be the perfect spot for open parks and bush-walking tracks, Federal Member for Oxley Milton Dick says.
Mr Dick would like to see the land rezoned for community use and be referred to as the Springfield Environmental Corridor.
He said the time had come for the defence department to either use it or lose it.
"For years now, local schools, community groups and residents have been calling for this land to be handed over to the Ipswich City Council for more appropriate use," he said.
"With housing and Woodcrest State College both close by, the defence department has very limited use of the land and should do the right thing by handing it over to the local community."
Mr Dick said he wrote to the Federal Minister for Defence Marise Payne to discuss the idea.
"I wrote to the Minister about this. At this stage the Government doesn't have any intentions for this piece of land," he said.
"I am now calling on the government to listen to what the community wants.
"This is 10 times the size of the Suncorp Stadium precinct. There are significant environmental needs in the community, especially with more development coming into stock, so we need to have open space, parkland and bushland secured for community access.
"I think the potential around this is enormous. It is a game changer for our community.
"We can have it masterplanned to have new open spaces for families to visit so they can appreciate the natural environment."
His words were echoed by Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles, who visited the Ipswich region to meet with Mr Dick.
"I think it is a very strategic piece of land. You can really see the value it could provide to the local community," Mr Marles said.
"I can certainly understand why people want to have greater public access to it.
"The only thing that defines it at the moment as defence force land is a big fence around it.
"I think this is the kind of project that the Labor Party would like to have a look at. We need to see if this is actually being used by defence or if it's not, could it be used in a different way which can benefit the community."
The Queensland Times contacted Minister for Defence Marise Payne and the Australian Defence Force but did not receive a response before our deadline.
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