POLITICAL desperation is driving two Labor ministers to resort to farmer bashing and distorting figures about vegetation clearing contained in the latest 2015-16 Statewide Land and Tree Cover Study (SLATS) report.
That’s the assessment of Gympie LNP MP Tony Perrett, who was also the deputy chair of a committee set up to investigate controversial vegetation management laws proposed by the Palaszczuk government last year. Those laws were subsequently rejected by parliament, leaving in place existing laws introduced by the former Newman government, which enjoy the broad support of farmers.
Mr Perrett said Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles were motivated to save their own seats and would continue to drive an extreme green agenda in cabinet.
Not considering thickening rates is like watching the tide go out and then claiming the sea water has disappeared.
“The claims are nothing more than purely about saving their political skins by demonising regional landholders in order to appease the wealthy, unproductive inner city green zealots,” Mr Perrett said.
“It is pure electioneering by two left wing ministers who are trashing the reputations of farmers and landholders.
“Using emotive language and nonsense comparisons to paint a doomsday scenario the fearmongering over the release of the 2015-16 SLATS report was true to form for the Labor government which pays lip service to the regions.
“To bump up their figures over land clearing rates they included such practices as fodder harvesting to feed starving livestock, and clearing firebreaks and fence lines as ‘broad scale land clearing’.”
Mr Perrett said there was no consideration of vegetation thickening rates or acknowledgement that farmers were already unable to clear remnant vegetation.
“Not considering thickening rates is like watching the tide go out and then claiming the sea water has disappeared,” he said.
“Selectively using data and ignoring the gaping holes in the SLATS report, which did not contain data that provides clear context to the extent of vegetation management activities, was just too convenient for the minsters who rely on green preferences for their seats.”