Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, said while no tears would be shed in rural Queensland over the departure of Bill Byrne from the agriculture portfolio, he questioned whether the new Agriculture Minister, Leanne Donaldson, would be an improvement.

Mr Cripps said Ms Donaldson was a first term MP, had not yet served 12 months in parliament and had no experience in the agriculture sector, yet Labor had put her in charge of what ought to be one of the state’s most important industry portfolios.

“I think it’s fair to say that Premier Palaszczuk has appointed another lightweight to the agriculture portfolio – we’ve got another person in charge of the Agriculture Department that has no connection to our primary industries” said Mr Cripps.

“Leanne Donaldson was sworn in today as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and already she has made the extraordinary admission that other than growing her own veggies occasionally, she has no first-hand experience” he said.

“Certainly, Bill Byrne spent most of his time offending and undermining primary producers in Queensland – whether it was undermining the viability of commercial fisherman or attacking sugar cane growers, Bill Byrne was never the farmers’ friend”.

“However, in the middle of Queensland’s record drought, Annastacia Palaszczuk has handed the agriculture portfolio to a political novice with no connection to the sector – if ever there was a sign that Labor doesn’t care about the bush, this is it”.

Mr Cripps said the Palaszczuk Government needed an Agriculture Minister that would stand up to the radical green activists that had taken over control over Labor’s policies that were important to farmers, including vegetation management and water management.

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