Member for Dawson George Christensen during the Dawson debate at the Mackay Surf Lifesaving Club on Monday 29 April 2019.
Member for Dawson George Christensen during the Dawson debate at the Mackay Surf Lifesaving Club on Monday 29 April 2019. Emma Murray

George Christensen launches attack on proposed reef laws

DAWSON MP George Christensen will today unveil his campaign backing cane farmers in their battle against the State Government's proposed reef laws.

The Don't Cane Our Farmers campaign will run in newspapers, websites and social media calling for a stop to the laws. Mr Christensen described the laws as a "slap in the face" for farmers.

"The laws being proposed by Queensland Labor will oppress farmers to such an extent that they will need to ask permission to farm on certain sections of their own farms," he said.

"They will enable a public servant in a government department to dictate farming practices and change the rules as they see fit, and will require those who work alongside of farmers as suppliers, millers or agronomists, to keep records on who buys what, and hand the data over when requested."

He claimed the laws would lead to an exodus of cane farmers from an industry already feeling the effects of low world sugar prices and rising electricity and water costs.

"This will not only be devastating for farming families but for workers in sugar mills, in sugar transportation and at our ports," Mr Christensen said.

To reduce sediment run-off onto the reef, the State Government has proposed new powers to monitor and police water quality across 35 river basins. They would force farmers to meet a regulated minimum standard for run-off.

Last week, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said while many farmers had been working to reduce run-off and improve water quality, the uptake of these voluntary practices had not been fast enough and water quality was continuing to decline.

"We have been consulting on these changes for more than two years, through a dedicated advisory group, with input from both Agforce and Canegrowers."

Mr Christensen's campaign follows the launch of a scathing television advertisement by Canegrowers last week. The Don't Cane Our Farmers campaign petition is at www.dontcaneourfarmers.com


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