16th March 2022

Nick Dametto MP.

Queensland’s major party MPs have shown their loyalties no longer lie with farmers, with Labor and the LNP now favouring a green ideology and foreign powers that seek to exploit the narrative surrounding our Great Barrier Reef.

Debate resumed last night on Katter’s Australian Party Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto’s Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2021, which seeks to repeal Labor’s 2019 reef water run-off regulations that have had heavily impacted Queensland’s sugar industry.

Mr Dametto said the regulations, premised on questionable science that relied heavily on modelling and the stifling ‘precautionary principle’, were introduced to shore-up Australia’s environmental credentials in the face of growing international pressure to look strong on protecting the reef.

“Growers believe that the 2019 legislative changes had more to do with green ideology than they do with science and what is actually occurring with on-farm practices,” he said.

“During this debate there has been next to no scientific fact referred to by those who have spoken against the Bill, no one has addressed our questions around the scientific validity that underpins these draconian regulations.

“Both Labor and LNP MPs have preferred to debate on ‘environmental values’, climate change and the demands of UNESCO rather than addressing what the Bill actually seeks to achieve.”

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has made clear it will not support the repeal attempt, while the LNP Opposition announced it would oppose the Bill but wanted to move amendments that attempted to provide legal protections for growers who comply with “recognised accreditation programs”.

The requirements of these programs, while industry-run, are by design above and beyond the reef regulations stipulated by the Act but, bizarrely, the LNP has argued their amendment is designed to “make farmers feel like they are genuine partners in protecting our Great Barrier Reef”.

One Nation’s Steve Andrew, who represents the seat of Mirani, has indicated he will support the KAP Bill as has the LNP’s Col Boyce.

Mr Dametto said the LNP’s amendment was, at best, a clumsy after-thought and, at worst, an attempt to dupe farmers.

“Farmers and grower representative groups have resoundingly rejected the reef regulations since 2019 and they did so with both the KAP, PHON and the LNP in their corner,” he said.

“All three parties spoke against and voted against these legislative changes to the Environmental Protection Act and vowed to do all they could to fight against them.

“Three years down the track, the KAP is walking the walk and the LNP have done nothing short of endorsing Labor’s draconian laws.

“To save face, they are now seeking to put forward their shoddy amendments as a smoke screen.

“You can’t have it both ways, just be honest with people – for Christ’s sake, farmers didn’t come down in the last shower.”

Debate on the KAP’s Bill will resume in the Queensland Parliament on March 29th.

Mr Dametto said he held out hope that some of the major party MPs elected to represent the State’s agricultural communities in the six reef catchment areas would cross the floor in support of the Bill farmers wanted.


Nick Dametto MP