Reef bill snub shows Government's true colours (It's green)

Reef bill snub shows Government's true colours (It's green)
Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019

The State Government's refusal to adequately consult about its proposed reef protection legislation demonstrates its contempt for the views of primary producers and people living in regional Queensland, and suggests the Government's agenda has been hijacked by urban-dwelling Greens.

The "sham" public review - allowing just two weeks for written submissions after the surprise introduction of the bill into Parliament on 27 February - does not even include any consultation sessions in the affected regions as originally promised.

The only consultation session planned is in Brisbane, making it virtually impossible for farmers and regional Queenslanders to have their views considered.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the pretend consultation showed the Government's true colours - that they don't think farmers are worth talking to despite the fact that the burden of this legislation will fall on them.

"It also highlights the Government's reluctance to expose the shaky science and cherry-picked facts on which they have based their legislation to public scrutiny," Mr Guerin said.

The proposed regulations would saddle all cattle, sheep, grain, fruit and vegetable, and cane farmers in the six reef catchments - an area that covers about a third of the State and extends as far as 300 kilometres from the coast - with restrictive practices that will severely hamper their operations and involve onerous record-keeping and reporting.

"It is absolutely criminal that the Government believes it can introduce these laws without even talking to the very people and communities that it will so badly effect," Mr Guerin said.

"Such arrogance is breathtaking. What happened to democracy? I thought they were supposed to be governing for every Queenslander, not just those living in the south-east corner."

Mr Guerin said the most frustrating thing was that farmers had real-world information and advice that would lead to a more effective, practical and realistic solution to protect the reef at a lower-cost - but no-one wanted to listen.

"The saddest irony is that farmers love the reef and want to do their part to preserve it, but are being prevented from doing so by hard-nosed environmentalists, whose impractical, ideologically motivated demands will actually do more harm than good," he said.

"In their current form, the proposed laws impose on farmers unnecessary, expensive red tape and regulation that won't provide any benefit to water quality or the Reef's long-term well-being.

"This is a significant burden for farmers, many who are still recovering from floods or who are still in drought."

Mr Guerin said the fact that primary producers weren't even aware of the proposed legislation until AgForce informed them indicated "very poor communication by the Government and a clear lack of consultation"

Media Contacts David Vogler 0418 733 102 | Hannah Leu 0427 626 853

Reef bill snub shows Government's true colours (It's green)

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