Queensland farmers are set to be punished with more red tape, regulation and restrictions under the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s ‘big stick’ approach to Reef Management.
Shadow Environment Minister Stephen Bennett said Labor’s latest announcement of a ‘new’ targeted compliance program was just a reinvention of old policies that had failed to improve Reef health the last time they were rolled out.
Mr Bennett said the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef were cyclones, crown of thorns star fish and coral bleaching but the Palaszczuk Government was instead pointing the finger at Queensland farmers.
“All Queenslanders want the reef to be protected for future generations but Labor is going about it the wrong way,” he said.
“Instead of punishing farmers, the Palaszczuk Government should be working with them. That’s the only way we will see improvements in Reef water quality.”
Mr Bennett said the former LNP Government took more practical action than any previous Queensland Government to address issues affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
“We overturned the previous Bligh Labor Government’s decision to dump 38 million cubic metres of dredge spoil on the Great Barrier Reef at Abbot Point and were investing $35million each year towards the Reef,” he said.
“This action produced real results for the Reef and we were able to work together with the agriculture sector to ensure water quality continued to improve.”
Shadow Agriculture Minister Deb Frecklington said the last thing the sector needed was to be restricted by more red tape and regulation.
“Queensland farmers care about the environment and they care about the Reef,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s decision to impose more regulation lacks common sense.
“If Labor was serious about improving the health of the Reef it would cooperate with famers and work on a solution together. A big stick won’t solve anything.”
Shadow Minister for Norther Development Andrew Cripps said this was proof that the Palaszczuk Labor Government was more interested in pandering to the Greens than working with farmers.
“For the last nine months, the Environment Minister has been looking for any excuse to impose more onerous regulation on the agriculture sector,” Mr Cripps said.
“Labor and the Greens have a long history of making pre-election preference deals in Queensland that result in Labor Government’s imposing burdensome legislation of farmers. Steven Miles is paying his debt.
“The Palaszczuk Government is taking us back to the bad old days and North Queensland farmers will be left to pay for it.
“This isn’t what Queenslanders voted for.”