The Senate inquiry into Reef science being held in Brisbane today is our last chance to maintain a pristine Great Barrier Reef alongside a productive and sustainable farming sector and strong regional communities.
AgForce Reef Taskforce Chair Alex Stubbs, CEO Michael Guerin and scientist Marie Vitelli delivered an impassioned and compelling case for the State Government to discontinue its proposed Reef regulations and standards, a bureaucratic and fundamentally flawed regime that won’t actually make any difference to Reef health.
Mr Stubbs said primary producers and regional communities were emotionally exhausted after years of providing scientifically robust, ground-truthed submissions to forum after Reef protection forum without any of it being incorporated into legislation.
“Despite all this patient effort, we have received not one iota of recognition or acknowledgement, but instead have been viciously and unfairly persecuted by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science,” he said
“We arrive today exhausted but hopeful because this really is our last chance to get Reef science right and to support a $15 billion industry that is a vital part of strong regional communities.”
The team outlined AgForce’s views that
- current reef policy and legislation is detrimental to continuing reef health and the future of regional communities
- the weaving in of voluntary, industry-led BMP programs to Queensland’s Reef protection regulations and compliance is a complete tragedy, and that
- the future of the Reef and its communities relies on restoring community and producer trust in evidence-based Reef science with appropriate processes to ensure integrity.
Mr Guerin implored the State Government to listen to the findings of the inquiry when released later in the year.
“This inquiry is nothing more than a chance to make sure that we are all doing our best to care for the Reef while caring for farming families and the economy too,” he said.
“For decades, our pleas to the State Government to check the science behind the proposed Reef regulations have been completely ignored – this is our last chance for justice for farmers.
“Everyone wants to preserve the Reef for future generations, but we also want to ensure our kids and grandkids have access to clean, locally grown food and to jobs in our regions.
“We can all coexist together, if we all understand each other’s needs and work together.”
Anyone wanting to join the fight against the unfair Reef regulations and the harm it will have on rural and regional Queenslanders can do so by visiting the Stand With Regional Queensland website standwithregqld.org.au.