October 19th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Greta Thunberg: she's not doing it all on her own

EDITORIAL Time for Australia to rethink the neo-liberal experiment

RURAL AFFAIRS Queensland Labor punishes farmers to placate UNESCO

CANBERRA OBSERVED Morrison's 'positive' globalism has resonance

NSW ABORTION ACT Amendments annul some of the Act's worst excesses

GENDER POLITICS Doctors call for inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hong Kong's 'software' may be key to its survival

GENDER POLITICS Pornography and the transgender agenda

RIGHTS & FREEDOMS Transgenderism poses biggest threat to religious freedom

OPINION When Maggie (Sanger) met Mickie (Mann)

PHILOSOPHY The element of justice in economic practice, Part 2 of two parts

POPULATION Lifestyles and policies ensure population peril ahead

HUMOUR If atheism is the answer, what was the question?

MUSIC Good, better, Bach: The composer who consistently outdid himself

CINEMA Joker: From a heart in darkness

BOOK REVIEW Hope, more than economics, drives Trump voters

BOOK REVIEW A pushback against visceral unreason

LETTERS

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RURAL AFFAIRS
Queensland Labor punishes farmers to placate UNESCO


by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, October 19, 2019

 

  • Draconian Queensland laws dictate farming practices along Great Barrier Reef
  • Laws not based on science but a reaction to UNESCO pressure
  • Farmers incur increased costs, complexity and control from bureaucrats

Queensland’s ALP Government is continuing its war against farming and private property rights with the latest of its Orwellian laws, which restricts where and how farming activity can occur adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.

Is it the Palasczszuk Government’s intention
to drive people off the land?

The government rammed The Environment Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 through the unicameral Parliament on September 19. The Opposition accused the Government of shutting down debate to head off their planned amendments to the bill.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said, “regional Queensland is no priority for [Palaszczuk’s] Labor Government”, and the laws jeopardised Queensland’s $4 billion cane industry, which was responsible for more than 22,600 direct and indirect jobs.

The world sugar price has more than halved in the last two years, adding to the woes of Australian cane farmers already struggling to cope with the increased power of the mills and the loss of canegrowers’ bargaining power as a result of the abolition of the single selling desk. Adding to this has been the unconscionable conduct by banks eager to foreclose on farmers’ properties and the removal of subsidies to our cane farmers while the rest of the world continues to heavily subsidise theirs.

But, just as the Queensland Government lined all property owners up in its sights with its draconian land-use laws (“Land-clearing laws render productive land useless and worthless”, News Weekly, August 24, 2019), the new restrictions don’t stop at cane farming. The Queensland Government website’s Strengthening Reef protection regulations announced the new laws as follows: “The regulations set minimum practice agricultural standards for all sugarcane, beef cattle grazing, banana, grains and horticulture production in five of the six Reef regions – the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary.

“New and expanded cropping and horticulture activities over five hectares in all six Reef regions, including Cape York, will have to comply with farm design standards and any minimum practice standards for the crop being sown.”

Demonstrating just how Big Brotherish the new legislation is, the Government says: “Under the proposed regulated practice standards, producers will need to keep records of [mandatory] soil tests and fertiliser and agricultural chemicals applied and advisers will need to keep records of advice provided to land managers.”

The government’s minimum standards state: “Where beef cattle grazing is being carried out on land in poor condition, graziers must implement measures to improve land condition towards good or fair condition or prevent areas further degrading or expanding. [In the case of drought] … Active enforcement of the regulations in these circumstances will be moderated on a case-by-case basis.”

So, government bureaucrats that are driven by policies to reduce “climate change”, and probably wouldn’t know good farm practice if it bit them on the bum, can arbitrarily deem land “in poor condition” and prevent the farmer from continuing to farm on his/her own terms. Similarly onerous minimum standards will apply to banana crops, cropping and horticultural activities of more than five hectares. Failure to comply with minimum requirements may render farmers liable to prosecution and heavy penalties.

The increase in red and green tape incurring extra costs and time spent by farmers to comply will be too much for some, leading to further suicides in a section of the community that is at its wits end dealing with a perfect storm of factors, both natural and government-made, conspiring against it.

The Federal Coalition’s surprise election victory in May was the catalyst for the Palaszczuk Government to stop equivocating over approval of the Adani coalmine. But it seems it has not learnt the lesson Queensland voters handed to the federal ALP, which had effectively declared war on regional mining and farming communities with their extreme “climate-emergency” policies.

The Queensland government is doing all it can to foment an electoral backlash in regional Queensland in the state election next year. Voters in the 12 seats in proximity to the Great Barrier Reef held by the ALP, including Barron River, Cairns, Cook, Mulgrave, Thuringowa, Townsville, Gladstone, Keppel, Mackay, Maryborough, Mundingburra and Rockhampton, could decide which party governs from 2020.

The so-called “climate-emergency” is the excuse that has been used to introduce these oppressive laws, rather than a conclusive scientific assessment of the poor water quality of the Reef. Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the laws were needed “to give the Great Barrier Reef the best possible chance to survive a change in climate”.

Preferring to answer to the United Nations instead of to regional Queenslanders, Enoch spurted: “UNESCO’s going to be looking very carefully at the actions we take.”

Liberal National Party MP Colin Boyce labelled the bill as “socialist, fake, Green-Labor climate dogma”.

AgForce chief executive Michael Guerin told The Australian: “Where is the logic? The reefs adjacent to Cape York, where [voluntary] sediment and nutrient targets were met, were the worst affected by recent bleaching events.” Guerin told the North Queensland Register: “There isn’t even any basic monitoring in place to ensure the measures claimed to protect the reef are actually effective.”

Marine scientist Professor Peter Ridd, who was found to have been unlawfully dismissed by James Cook University for criticising a colleague’s claims about climate change, has been a vocal opponent of the new laws. He told The Australian that farm chemicals are not affecting the reef.

“It flows out down rivers, a small fraction,” he said. “When you look at pesticides, they are almost undetectable when they get to the coast. In the Reef they are so utterly undetectable that some scientists don’t check for them. We believe the pesticides are not reaching the Reef.

“We want an independent audit on the evidence … We can demonstrate that some of this evidence is wrong. Not all of it … we want some of it checked.”

Federally, the Senate voted on September 17 to set up an inquiry into whether farming and poor water quality harm the Great Barrier Reef. Here’s hoping the inquiry is objective and not driven by fake climate-change ideology.




























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the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm