Proposed reef laws a 'threat to farmers and regional jobs'
QUEENSLAND coastal regional communities and their reliant farming jobs are facing increased uncertainty from proposed Reef Laws, Gympie MP and opposition spokesman for agriculture Tony Perrett said.
All farmers in the Burnett Mary catchment, which includes areas around Gympie, will be included in the new reef laws for the first time.
Previously, Burnett Mary catchment was not regulated.
"Canegrowers represents more than 4000 farming businesses up and down the coast and they've taken the extraordinary step of running TV ads against the unfair reef laws,” Mr Perrett said.
"The state's cattle and grazing industry group, AgForce, is deleting their best management practice data to ensure their members are protected from the incoming Labor Government laws.
"ABGC have described the incoming laws as 'devastating' while Growcom has questioned farmers' ability to continue to absorb the costs of environmental regulation.
"Farmers have been blindsided by these regulations and deserve to be listened to.
"It's completely unacceptable that Labor is going to ram these reef regulations through without listening to the very people these laws will impact.
The Australian Sugar Millers Council in their submission to the Reef Bill highlighted specifically that: "the Queensland economy would be quite negatively impacted if the focus on improvement of reef water quality led to a significant reduction in the productivity and size of the State's sugar industry, and agriculture more broadly”.
It goes on to add, that Labor's laws and regulatory approach could have "...far reaching and disastrous impact from an economic, social and environmental perspective.”
Mr Perrett pointed directly to the loss of production, leading to a loss of jobs.
"This is economics 101, if there is less cane harvested there is less to crush and this flows through the entire community.
"This means jobs losses in towns all the way along the coast from Cairns to Mackay to Bundaberg.
"I would expect Labor member like Julieanne Gilbert (Mackay), Bruce Saunders (Maryborough) and Cynthia Lui (Cook) to vote against these laws if they are serious about protecting and supporting hundreds of local jobs.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is out of touch and regional Queensland has been snubbed.