Farming and Reef: Don’t Demonise the Farmers

The first of two public hearings have been held into Nick Dametto, Member for Hinchinbrook’s, Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2021.

The Bill sets out to repeal the ALP Government’s 2019 legislation which demonises farmers and regulates the agricultural industry into oblivion.

“This is unfair legislation we are trying to reverse.  The ALP legislation is based on questionable science.  Until this science is independently audited, replicated and checked – the 2019 ALP legislation must be reversed,” said Mr Dametto.

Agriculture remains the backbone of North and Central Queensland. Each year the sugar industry alone contributes $1.1 billion to our state’s economy and 44,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The agricultural organisations that will appear before the committee represent the reef’s greatest protectors: growers, farmers and people who own the land.

“They know what to do; they know how to manage their land,” Mr Dametto said.

Mr Dametto pointed out the ALP Committee Chair Arron Harper, State Member for Thuringowa’s refusal to allow regional hearings into the Bill and was in effect trying to silence growers..

“This is all about Labor silencing our sugar growers across regional Queensland. Only holding hearings in Brisbane allows easy access for well-financed environmental lobby groups and silences the voice of those affected by this the most.

“Holding these hearings in the middle of cane planting season and while growers are preparing for harvest will limit the opportunities for those economically and financially affected to have their story heard,” Mr Dametto said.

Prior to State politics Mr Dametto grew up on the family cane farm, worked on the family banana farm and went onto own a reef-based tourism business, ‘Townsville Watersports’.  Mr Dametto’s father also owned a dive boat and game fishing boat that operated on the reef.

“Fundamentally, agriculture and the reef should not be treated mutually exclusively. That is why there needs to be a better balance.

“Both can continue to thrive for generations to come without causing such economic destruction to the agriculture industry.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto speaking the Public Committee Hearing on Friday 11 June 2021

The next committee public hearing into the Bill will be 3 September 2021 in Brisbane.

Nick Dametto MP