Farmers denied a voice in Reef inquiry

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has questioned the integrity of Federal Government inquiry into farming practices after hearings in North Queensland were cancelled.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has questioned the integrity of a Federal Senate inquiry into whether there is a link between farming practices and poor water quality after planned hearings in North Queensland were cancelled.

Mr Dametto said he was baffled as to why an inquiry focused on agricultural practices would not even attempt to hear from farmers based in Queensland’s six reef catchment areas and instead only holding hearings in Brisbane.

“This inquiry was talked up no end by the Federal Coalition and their State LNP counterparts as some sort of silver bullet to help farmers in Queensland battle the State Labor Government’s Reef regulations. Well, now it is heavily restricting farmers from having their say,” Mr Dametto said.

“The Senate committee’s excuse that COVID-19 has prevented them from coming up is bizarre. If you can hold hearings in Brisbane, you can hold hearings in North Queensland. Ironically, Brisbane is probably Queensland’s polluter and is not even in a reef catchment area, yet its farmers in regional Queensland who are under scrutiny.

“On top of that, we are in the middle of the cane planting and harvesting season so it will be almost impossible for growers to make the time to attend the hearings in Brisbane.”

Mr Dametto said Katter’s Australian Party had repeatedly warned the inquiry was misguided as it focused on farmers and farming practices instead of the ability to check and replicate Reef science to ensure its accuracy.

“Every grower should be asking themselves why the Federal Coalition are severely limiting their opportunity to speak at this inquiry. Does the State LNP support this move? It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“In stark contrast, the KAP have already drafted legislation and will be introducing a Bill in the next term of State Parliament at the first available opportunity to repeal Labor’s farm-destroying Reef runoff regulations. We’re taking action.”

Nick Dametto MP