Federal Government dismissal exposes extreme greens election eve stunt
Wednesday, 6 Dec 2017

The Federal Government’s confirmation today a Far North Queensland farming family is not under investigation for illegal tree clearing has exposed the Wilderness Society’s claims as nothing more than a baseless election eve stunt, AgForce said today.

In a statement to media today, Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said that “allegations of illegal land clearing, made against (the Jonsson family) by the Wilderness Society and reported by the ABC on 23 November 2017, were looked at by my department and dismissed as unfounded.”

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the Jonsson family’s business had suffered and they had been subjected to an arson attack, vandalism and verbal and written abuse since the story aired.

“Queensland farmers manage vegetation on their land to put food on the dinner tables of Australian families and consumers throughout the world, and we are sick and tired of being demonised just for doing our jobs,” he said.

“The State Government’s own data confirms the vast majority of landholders are doing the right thing, and with satellites monitoring land use changes every 16 days, the Department of Natural Resources knows exactly what is happening and when.

“This case highlights how a farming family acting in accordance with the law can be dragged through the mud just so a grubby green group can score some political points on the eve of an election.

“The saga should serve as a warning to both media outlets and politicians to scrutinise carefully what they are provided by green groups in the future, rather than just accepting their wild allegations as facts and running stories primarily because they’ve been given drone footage.”

Mr Guerin said the case also raised questions about the close relationship between the Palaszczuk Government and extreme green groups, with Labor’s vegetation management policy virtually a ‘cut and paste’ of what groups like the Wilderness Society had on their State Election wish lists.

“The Premier has maintained she wants to govern for all Queenslanders and that she wants to grow and create jobs in regional Queensland, yet her party’s vegetation management policy suggests the complete opposite,” he said.

“While we recognise Labor is likely to have the numbers to force through the flawed laws rejected in the last Queensland Parliament, AgForce will continue to stand up for our members and oppose what we believe is fundamentally bad policy for the bush.”

Media Contacts: Scott Whitby 0418 733 102, Sarah Henderson 0427 626 853
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