Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, said he had warned farmers in the lead up to the state election in January 2015 that Labor and the Greens had done another election deal that would undermine their productivity and tie them up in red tape and now it was coming to pass.
Mr Cripps said the Environment Minister, Steven Miles, was out beating the drum this week on behalf of agriculture’s old enemy, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), labelling farmers as environmental vandals and issuing thinly veiled threats about imposing more regulation.
“As I said in January, 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 and the last state election was no different” said Mr Cripps.
“The former LNP Government took more practical action than any previous Queensland Government to address issues affecting the Great Barrier Reef, while working in cooperation with farmers to improve land management practices and water quality outcomes” he said.
“The LNP overturned the previous Bligh Labor Government’s decision to dump 38 million cubic metres of dredge spoil on the Great Barrier Reef at Abbott Point and was already investing in a whole-of-government reef water quality improvement package worth $35 million a year”.
“In January, Labor announced significant increases in nutrient and sediment run-off reduction targets, which can only mean one thing – Labor have already made up their minds that they will be reinforcing their restrictive and onerous regulations on North Queensland farmers”.
Mr Cripps said it was well established that the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef were cyclones, crown of thorns star fish and coral bleaching – not North Queensland farmers – who are a critical part of the local economy and community in region.
“All Queenslanders want the reef to be protected for future generations, but while Labor has talked a lot about spending huge volumes of taxpayers money, we have heard very little in the way of practical initiatives – all we’ve seen is the setting up of the Reef Taskforce”.
“Just having a Minister and an office named after the Great Barrier Reef isn’t going to improve water quality, especially if that Minister is just a stooge for the WWF and the office is just obsessed with making farmers in North Queensland go blind on paperwork”.
Mr Cripps said Labor’s policy had little to do with the future of the Great Barrier Reef and everything to do with a back room preference deal with the Greens ahead of the last state election, with agriculture and jobs in North Queensland paying the price.