AgForce has asked that the Queensland Government immediately and publicly retract misinformation being spread by its officers that AgForce supports the new Reef regulations and mandatory standards.
CEO Michael Guerin admonished officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) for claiming at a number of public briefing sessions that AgForce supports the legislation – despite our very clear, public ongoing opposition.
“For the State Government to misrepresent our unambiguous and often-stated position – to misuse our credibility and reputation – in order to try and “sell” their sub-standard legislation to producers and the community is shameful,” Mr Guerin said.
“AgForce does not support and has never supported mandatory regulation of farmers in Reef catchment areas.
“In fact, we continue to advocate against the regulations introduced last year as being unacceptably onerous on farmers, overly complex, and ultimately ineffective in protecting the Reef.
“Our position was clearly articulated in our submissions to the State Government during their consultation on the Reef regulations last year and also to the current Federal Senate Inquiry into evidence-based Reef legislation.
“AgForce has taken every opportunity possible to engage with the State Government’s Office of the Great Barrier Reef to articulate our members’ views and our firm stance that we do not support mandatory Reef regulations.
“They have not listened.
“To fraudulently characterise AgForce’s participation in the consultation process and its role in helping producers understand the new legislation as support for the regime is unconscionable – something the Government should own up to and apologise for.
“The reality is that while we will continue to vigorously oppose the mandatory regulations, we have no option but to prepare our Members to understand and comply with them to help them avoid any negative impact on their legitimate farming activities.
“However, the fight goes on and it seems our last hope is to provide our compelling submission to the Senate inquiry into evidence-based regulation of producers in Reef catchments to ensure legislation does in fact protect Reef health without unduly impacting on farmers and Australia’s critical agriculture industry.”