The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is concerned a Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) candidate has told voters they will seek to use scrapping the Reef regulations and tree clearing laws as a bargaining chip if the party secures the balance of power in the upcoming Queensland election.
KAP member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto made the announcement at a Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates event in Townsville with his comments reported in the Townsville Bulletin.
Dr Lissa Schindler, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign manager said the Reef regulations and tree clearing laws were a key element of policies designed to protect our Reef and the thousands of tourism jobs that rely on it.
“We urge KAP to confirm that this isn’t official policy on the Reef regulations and tree clearing laws, and that they wouldn’t weaken the laws that protect the Reef if they hold the balance of power after the election,” she said.
“These laws are vital for protecting the inshore habitats of our Reef from pollution and sediment, relied upon by iconic Reef wildlife like dugongs, turtles and inshore dolphins. The scientific consensus has found that agricultural runoff damages these habitats, and voluntary measures to stop farm pollution are insufficient to protect our Reef.
“As dangerous global warming impacts our Reef, leading to the three mass bleaching events we’ve seen across the last five years, we need to do all we can to ensure the Reef waters are as free from damaging pollution as possible.
“The Reef regulations and tree clearing laws are there to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which supports vital regional industries like tourism. We urge KAP to commit to not using the watering down of these laws as a bargaining chip. Regional Queensland needs leaders to represent all industries and support farmers to adopt Reef safe practices.”