Labor defies committee recommendations to satisfy greens


Andrew in Parliament

  • Labor ignores unanimous committee recommendations on vegetation management to gain green votes
  • Palaszczuk Government’s laws mean farmers guilty until proven innocent
  • Draconian laws condemned by farmers and legal fraternity

The Palaszczuk Government will defy the unanimous recommendations of a parliamentary committee to amend its vegetation management bill to satisfy its preference deal and political debt to the extreme greens.

Shadow Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said Labor’s decision not to withdraw the ‘reversal of the onus of proof’ provisions from its proposed vegetation management laws was arrogant and conceited.

“Labor’s plan to make Queensland farmers and graziers guilty until proven innocent has been widely condemned by the agriculture sector and legal fraternity,” Mr Cripps said.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s decision to try to ram this bill through unchanged demonstrates its bloody-mindedness on this issue and proves the whole process has been driven by ideology, with Jackie Trad and Steven Miles steamrolling these draconian provisions through cabinet, with nothing but contempt for the parliament.”

Mr Cripps said other unfair provisions, including the withdrawal of ‘mistake of fact’ as an available defence and its retrospectivity to 17 March 2016 would also remain in Labor’s bill, denying people basic civil liberties.

He said under the Palaszczuk Government’s laws, Queensland’s agriculture sector would have to rely on revised self-assessable codes, the Coordinator-General and other obscure legislation to manage vegetation.

“We know Labor has already moved to reduce the flexibility of self-assessable codes for routine management activities, which will drive up the costs and reduce the productivity of Queensland’s agriculture sector,” Mr Cripps said.

“The only pathway for expanding high value agriculture in Queensland will be through the expensive and time-consuming Coordinator General’s process, favouring large corporate agriculture at the expense of small family farming businesses.

“Indigenous communities on Cape York have been told to rely on the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act to deliver future economic opportunities, despite it rarely being used because of its narrow and inflexible provisions.”

Mr Cripps said the LNP Opposition remained steadfastly opposed to the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed laws and would continue to defend the LNP’s successful 2013 reforms.

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