CANEGROWERS members in every sugarcane district of Queensland are ready to tell their stories of working for the Great Barrier Reef’s future to a parliamentary committee this week.
Following an outcry that a single session in Brisbane was not enough to canvass all of the concerns about a State Government move to further regulate farming in Reef catchments, the Queensland Parliament’s Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee has scheduled hearings in key regional centres.
“We welcome the fact that the Committee has heard the uproar from across the community and decided to travel beyond Brisbane to seen and listen to the people who will be affected by the provisions of the Bill,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“I particularly want them to hear firsthand from cane growers as well as farmers across the agricultural spectrum.
“I encourage cane growers to register to attend so that the Committee is able to get a very personal account of the decades of commitment to improve water quality for the Reef in our industry.”The hearings are:
- • Tuesday in Cairns
- • Wednesday in Townsville
- • Thursday in Mackay
- • Friday in Bundaberg
CANEGROWERS is campaigning against the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019.
“This Bill is an unnecessary impost on cane growers given the huge amount of investment, innovation and change is underway voluntarily within our industry,” Mr Galligan said.
“There was no consultation on some key specifics of the Bill before it was introduced to parliament and this was a slap in the face to the collaboration and trust we need to ensure the Reef is secured for future generations.
“CANEGROWERS is deeply concerned that the Bill ‘big brother’ provisions will give the government the power to demand records and data from agricultural advisors, supply chain partners and businesses which supply farms.
“It will also hand to the Department of Environment and Science the ability to change a regulated farming standard at any time without having to consider the impact on farmers or their communities and without any mechanism for appeal or review.
“Our message, loud and clear, will be that the way forward for agriculture and the Reef is through cooperation and engagement, building on world-leading best practice management programs which are already underway – not through regulation.”
This is also the key message in the online #RejectTheRegs petition which has surged past 1,300 signatures in a week.
“Not only cane growers, but farmers in every industry, their families and the regional business people who support and work with them are signing this,” Mr Galligan said.
Details of the public hearing times and locations are on the Parliamentary Committee web page.