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Thursday, 26 June 2003
Page: 17811

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (9:40 AM) —I stand here this morning in absolute disgust after the appalling conduct of the Queensland Labor government, which recently announced new tree-clearing legislation in Queensland. On 16 May, Queenslanders saw Premier Beattie engage in his now famous top-down approach. He took out full-page ads following his announcement of a moratorium on all new land-clearing applications in the state of Queensland. The Premier thought nothing about using common courtesy and consulting with land-holders. The Labor Premier did not even consult AgForce or the Queensland Farmers Federation, the two groups that are the true representatives of the main stakeholders—the farmers of Queensland. His shock announcement was simply a scare tactic based on misleading information, which he is famous for. Worst of all, it was politically driven.

We saw a similar story last year with the Premier's efforts on the Lower Balonne River, when he attempted to compulsorily acquire Cubbie Station, near Dirranbandi. This plan was totally rejected once we reverted to and used the proper science. The highly regarded Professor Peter Cullen looked at the real facts on behalf of the Queensland government—and, importantly, on behalf of the community and the water users of the Lower Balonne—and reported to the state government. Since then we have heard nothing of his plan to compulsorily acquire Cubbie Station.

The Queensland Premier is driven by bureaucracy rather than by proper science. In contrast, the federal government has insisted on consultation first with the farm bodies. I thank the Prime Minister for his commitment on this. The coalition government is encouraging as much input as possible into these draft regional vegetation management plans that are currently out for discussion with communities. The Premier seems hell-bent on avoiding community consultation and going around the regional vegetation management plans that are out there for discussion with community groups and, importantly, stakeholders.

Let us put some facts on the record. I have with me today a few letters that I have received from concerned land-holders since last month's tree-clearing announcement. One is from Mr Ashley McKay, from my electorate, who said:

The Queensland Government has tragically misled their Federal counterparts. Premier Beattie and his ministers have displayed an appalling ignorance and a lack of understanding on land management matters.

He also said:

There is no trust whatsoever in the Queensland government.

We have land-holders with 50 years of experience in land management and development in Queensland. Let us cooperate with them. Let us use this experience to achieve sustainable agriculture rather than have sensational media driven by the approach of the Labor government. (Time expired)