Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has accused Environment Minister, Steven Miles, of trying to cover up a politically motivated decision he made to shut down a legitimate feral animal control program on Pelorus Island in North Queensland.
In a recent answer to a parliamentary Question on Notice asked by Mr Cripps, Minister Miles refused to release the advice he relied on to issue an order to the Hinchinbrook Shire Council in relation to its feral goat control program on Pelorus Island.
Mr Cripps said Minister Miles’ answer to his question suggested that the release of any such advice at this time may prejudice the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s ongoing interest in the Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s activities.
“Quite frankly I think this is a load of rubbish – it’s a pathetically lame excuse from Minister Miles, who I believe is trying to cover up the fact that he made a politically motivated decision to issue that order and he doesn’t want to admit it” said Mr Cripps.
“The fact Steven Miles is refusing to release the advice he relied on to issue the order indicates there probably isn’t any and that this is all just a cheap political stunt – so much for transparency and accountability from the Palaszczuk Government” he said.
Mr Cripps said the answer to another parliamentary Question on Notice he asked of former Agriculture Minister, Leanne Donaldson, demonstrated that the project assessment and approval process was independent and undertaken by experts.
“That answer from recycled Agriculture Minister, Bill Byrne, makes it clear that the Agriculture Department’s Animal Ethics Committee made an independent, science-based decision to approve that feral goat control program on Pelorus Island”.
“Bill Byrne is having a bet each way by saying he supports the independence of the committee, but he doesn’t support using wild dogs to control the goats on Pelorus Island – it seems he will be as much use to his Department as the former Minister”.Mr Cripps said given Minister Miles had refused to release any expert or scientific advice he used to justify his decision to issue the order to the Hinchinbrook Shire Council, he would now lodge a Right to Information request to access the information.