Community & Business

27 October, 2023

Farming industry left feeling “neglected” after letter leak

A “LEAKED” document has caused a stir among farmers in the north, with Katter’s Australia Party calling it a “betrayal” on the industry, while Labor Member for Cook Cynthia Lui has defended her party’s approach.

By Ellie Fink

Katter’s Australian Party say local farmers are feeling gutted after a letter was “leaked”.
Katter’s Australian Party say local farmers are feeling gutted after a letter was “leaked”.

The document, penned by Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek and addressed to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on 25 May 2023, is an extensive account of the proposed measures concerning water quality, fisheries, and climate change. 

These measures are framed as the government's response to UNESCO's Reactive Monitoring Mission on the state of the Great Barrier Reef.

This also comes after gill net-free zones were announced in the Gulf of Carpentaria, leaving North Queensland fishing companies feeling “neglected” and outraged. 

In her correspondence, Minister Plibersek conveys that the Government has collaborated closely with the World Heritage Centre to ensure that these actions align with their expectations and address the recommendations outlined in the Mission report.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the Minister and her Queensland counterparts’ agreement to UNESCO’s demands were a gross betrayal of the Australian people.

“If you are in farming or fishing, and live in a regional or rural Queensland community, you should be deeply disturbed by the anti-future you have been relegated to in direct response to bullying by the Paris-based UNESCO,” he said.

“No Parisians will see their seafood communities closed, their farming operates rendered, or the use of their own natural resources to power their homes and businesses made illegal.

“It is the people of our communities, our state, who are the sacrificial lambs to this nonsensical obsession to ‘save the reef’, despite it boasting record high coral cover in recent years.

“Political heads need to roll over these decisions which have been deliberately concealed from the people it will actually affect.”

Ms Lui has rejected Mr Katter’s claims, saying the proposed measures by UNESCO and the Federal Government had “no secrecy”.

Being in talks with landowners, farmers and communities, she says Labor is working with everyone involved to ensure they are all on the same page.

“The Palaszczuk Government has made no secret of its commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef, not only because of its environmental and cultural value, but because it injects billions of dollars into our economy each year and supports more than 60,000 jobs,” she said. 

“The job of protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not over. The Palaszczuk Government continues to work to protect this iconic ecosystem. 

“We will continue to work with the Albanese Government, the science community, industry, landholders, farmers, fishers, conservationists and the wider community to protect this natural wonder so it can be enjoyed by future generations.

“We will also continue to work with UNESCO and its World Heritage Committee, the internationally recognised organisation responsible for protecting world heritage sites across the world, including our own Great Barrier Reef. 

“The Katters, Nick Dametto and Shane Knuth’s attempt to demonise the important work done by this organisation is simply pathetic and a national embarrassment.”


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