Sustained pressure from farmers from throughout Queensland reef catchments has persuaded the State Government to hold Reef Bill hearings in the affected regions, where the people it will affect live and have their businesses.
AgForce, National Farmers Federation, CANEGROWERS and others have also been instrumental in bringing about the hearings being held in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Bundaberg this week.
While AgForce called on the Parliamentary Committee to also include inland locations as the proposed changes will affect properties up to 800 kilometres from the coast, these hearings have been welcomed.
However, the last-minute decision to hold them has meant that unfortunately not everyone who wanted to speak at the hearings has been able to get a place on the agenda.
“The short notice and timeframe for the hearings has meant that a lot of the people who wanted to have a say have missed out,” said Peter Anderson, a grazier and grain producer from near Clermont in the Burdekin Catchment.
“But that doesn’t mean people can’t go along.
“In fact, we’re calling for as many people as possible from the Reef catchment areas in which the hearings are being held to get along and peaceably make your presence felt.
“There’s strength in numbers.”
Mr Anderson said the sheer volume of written submissions to Parliament and the number of people who have signed the #RejectTheRegs online petition demonstrates the widespread community opposition to the Bill in its current form.
“There are more than 1,300 signatures already – that’s happened in little more than a week,” he said.
“But we can’t let up. We must send a loud, but calm message to the State Government that the proposed changes to Reef regulations aren’t welcome.
“They won’t make a bit of difference to the health of the Reef either.
“Consultation is what’s needed. Incentives for farmers, as have been proposed in some circles. Not more pointless, restrictive, costly and unbalanced regulations.
“The Reef Bill mustn’t pass Parliament. Get along to the public hearings this week, complete the #RejectTheRegs petition, and ensure your voice is heard.”
For details about the public hearings click here
To complete the petition, click here
/Public Release. View in full here