Cane lobby groups go soft on Labor’s Reef regs

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto is calling on cane lobby groups and the Opposition to back a draft KAP Bill that will reverse Labor’s farm destroying Reef regulations.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has labelled sugar cane lobby groups “asleep at the wheel” for having so far failed to acknowledge a Katter’s Australian Party Bill that will repeal Labor’s farm destroying reef regulations.

Mr Dametto accepted Canegrowers had come out in a recent media statement endorsing an LNP commitment for a “review” into the Reef regulations, but questioned why they had not supported the KAP’s draft Bill which would overturn those regulations.

“After I drafted the KAP’s Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2020 months ago, I wrote to Canegrowers, AgForce and the State Opposition Leader asking for their feedback, suggested amendments and support. To date, we have not had a response from any of them – not an email, letter, phone call or messenger pigeon,” Mr Dametto said.

“One of the key measures growers have asked political parties to commit to ahead of this year’s election is a repeal of Labor’s Reef legislation and regulations. The KAP will be doing just that with our Bill but instead it seems some grower lobby groups are content with settling for far less with the LNP’s commitment. Farmers should be asking why.”

Mr Dametto said with the exception of one brave LNP Member, the LNP had “betrayed” farmers after voting with Labor in the previous sitting week of parliament to appoint a commissioner who will dictate not only how mining businesses operate but will also enforce last year’s amendments to the Environmental Protection Act that will introduce draconian regulation on farmers in the six reef catchment areas.

“The LNP and Labor have established a legislative hitman answerable only to the Environment Minister and no-one else. They will have immense power to work against mining and agriculture in Queensland,” Mr Dametto said.

“That same legislation has also mandated farmers will now have to apply for environmental authority for cropping and horticulture activities. This is just more green tape and I cannot fathom how the LNP could have justified voting for this.

“In an insane turn of events, the LNP has not ruled out preferencing the Greens in an attempt to unseat Labor members in seats such as South Brisbane. This really is playing with fire. The LNP’s plans to deliver preferences to the Greens has a dangerous potential to force a Labor/Greens Minority Government that would spell the end of our agricultural and mining sectors.”

Mr Dametto said backing Queensland agriculture was more than just “a bunch of one liners and calls to stand shoulder to shoulder at a rally”.

“You actually need to back words with actions,” he said.

“Katter’s Australian Party talks the talk and walks the walk. For many, the lukewarm response from the LNP is wearing pretty thin. At the first opportunity in the next term of parliament, I will be introducing this legislation into Parliament. It’s time for the LNP and grower lobby groups to come clean on whether or not they back our Bill that will wind back the clock on Labor’s damage to our agriculture industry.”

Nick Dametto MP