Farmers warned of government data siphoning plan

Farmers warned of government data siphoning plan
July 20 2020

CANEGROWERS is sounding the alarm over a covert State Government move to access data about Queensland farmers in Great Barrier Reef catchment areas.

“The Department of Environment and Science is seeking a contractor to identify sources of information about sugarcane growers, graziers and banana producers along much of the Queensland coast,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“We are alarmed that this outsourcing exercise will put at risk the privacy of our members’ personal information as defined under privacy law.”

The tender document, DES19406 - Identify existing information sources for Agricultural Producers in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment, says the aim of the project is to provide information for a spatial database of producers for the purpose of reef regulation compliance activities.

“The Queensland Government already knows who owns land in the catchment regions – it administers land titles,” Mr Galligan said. “It appears the Government wishes to siphon personal and business information out of programs and projects that growers have participated in in good faith.

"Producers should be worried that information they have provided for one particular purpose could be collated, compiled and used for a completely different purpose by the Government.”

CANEGROWERS has written to the Environment and Science Minister Leeanne Enoch about the tender.

“Last year CANEGROWERS was outspoken about a dangerous clause in the reef legislation that went through parliament – giving the government power to acquire, from anyone who works with or for farmers, records about farm businesses,” Mr Galligan said.

“We are concerned that this tender is the State Government’s first step towards wielding the power it gave itself." (Section 89 of the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019)