OPINION: Labor's sneaky campaign to get rid of best practice grazing and mining continues.
On December 20 Labor released a media statement advising of its next step to not only remove grazing and mining from another part of the state, but also a wilful refusal to use any science based evidence in its decision making, and instead to use the lawyers of the Environmental Defenders Office to draft woke West End environmental laws.
The media statement also continues with the Labor lie that the LNP government removal of the Wild Rivers Regulation left the river systems of the channel country unprotected.
The reality is that the then Minister Andrew Cripps was not able to ascertain from the department of Natural Resources and mines any science used to support the riverine system buffers either in the channel country or in the Cape, instead the buffers were set by taking the mid-way distance between the environmental groups demands and ag industry recommendation.
The minister replaced the 2km buffers with practical science based buffers, some which were greater than those under wild rivers and some that were less. But all that were more outcomes based than George Street based.
It was the LNP government that banned "cotton growing on the Cooper" and open cut mining in the channel country. Facts that Labor has forgotten.
Labor has also forgotten that the High Court ruled the Wild Rivers Act invalid due to an absence of consultation. Lack of consultation with the bush tradition continues, it is no co-incidence that there is no "u" in Labor.
The most telling commentary is from both agricultural leaders and aboriginal leaders that proposed Labor environmental policies in the channel country and the cape will remove economic futures for Australians in both places, and at the same time not achieve the environmental outcomes as desired
The channel country has been grazed since 1870s and so successfully has the land and native flora and fauna been managed that the landed is considered to be pristine and untouched.
It is these landholders, the graziers and their families, station workers and visitors that have carefully managed stocking rates, installed additional watering points that have allowed many native species to survive in dry and drought years, and importantly provide the economic activity that allow towns like Birdsville to survive.
Finally, there is also reference made to gas exploration and drilling by Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation on their web page. It is true that Australia has the most onerous and prescriptive environmental and mining regulation in the world. Australians quite rightly expect this. And it is these royalties that have allowed the state Labor government to spend money on urban projects like inner city rail, schools and hospitals.
Once again despite Labor rewriting of history, it was the LNP who had to introduce better regulation for gas industries that were allowed to commence unchecked under the earlier Beattie and Bligh Labor governments. This led to the rise of lock the gate and other anti-gas development views.
Now using the LNP framework, those industries are progressing in a sensible and sustainable manner and paying for Labor inner city policies.
For all of us interested in genuine environmental and economic partnership please consider that 150 years of current activities have been so well managed that the channel country is considered to be pristine, and instead of introducing additional legislation that will make it more difficult for the very graziers and local people to continue their businesses and invest in those environmental measures, the government should incentivise those activities rather than remove them.
- Susan McDonald is an LNP Senator for Queensland.
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