$5 million cop out: Palaszczuk reneges on prickly acacia control

Palaszczuk reneges on $5m prickly acacia funding

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COP OUT: The Palaszczuk Government has reneged on a $5 million commitment to control prickly acacia.

COP OUT: The Palaszczuk Government has reneged on a $5 million commitment to control prickly acacia.

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The Palaszczuk Government has reneged on a $5 million commitment to control prickly acacia.

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QUEENSLAND landholders have been dudded, with the Palaszczuk government reneging on a $5 million commitment to control prickly acacia.

Asked on Monday how the Palaszczuk government would uphold its $5m commitment, a single sentence statement was issued by Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner's office.

"We are writing to the new Federal Agriculture Minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie, about this matter," the statement reads.

Queensland Country Life has requested a copy of the letter.

On March 29 then federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud (now water minister) and Queensland Agriculture Minister issued a joint media release saying both governments would contribute $5m each to create a $10m war chest to combat prickly acacia.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Queensland Agriculture Minister issued a joint media release saying both governments would contribute $5m each to create a $10m war chest to combat prickly acacia.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Queensland Agriculture Minister issued a joint media release saying both governments would contribute $5m each to create a $10m war chest to combat prickly acacia.

Prickly acacia is Weed of National Significance found in many parts of north west and central west Queensland. Seed from the invasive weed was spread over a significantly wider area following the unprecedented flooding in north west Queensland in January.

According to NRM group Desert Channels Queensland - the organisation charged with stopping the weed's spread - millions of seedlings are now emerging, particularly in the Diamantina River system. That puts the Lake Eyre Basin at risk.

According to the Queensland Government's own website prickly acacia is a major environmental pest plant that degrades soil by facilitating erosion and threatens biodiversity through transformation of natural grasslands into thorny scrub and woodland.

Mr Littleproud said he had never seen a lower political act where a government had reneged to follow through on a commitment made to people devastated by a natural disaster. Their misery had been great enough, he said.

"They (the Palaszczuk Government) even acknowledged the importance of getting on top of this after flooding, in our joint press release in March, now the state government is wavering on its commitment.

David Littleproud says the commonwealth's $5 million in funding for prickly acacia control is assured.

David Littleproud says the commonwealth's $5 million in funding for prickly acacia control is assured.

Mr Littleproud said the commonwealth's $5m was assured.

"The cheque's cut, our money is there and ready to go as part of our flood relief package," Mr Littleproud said. "We now need the state to come clean on where theirs is."

In the March 29 media release Mr Furner said the highly-invasive weed posed an escalating threat to the Queensland economy, environment and communities just as they were trying to recover from a natural disaster.

$5 million in funding promised for prickly acacia control by Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is still to be seen.

$5 million in funding promised for prickly acacia control by Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is still to be seen.

"Prickly acacia is already present across large areas of north-western and central-western Queensland," Mr Furner said.

"Floodwaters will likely spread the weed even further and provide conditions that will allow it to flourish unless we take urgent action.

"That's why the state and federal governments are contributing $5 million each over five years to run the program through to 2023-24."

LNP Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said Mr Furner has misled Queenslanders by failing to front up with the money in the budget released last week.

"This is the worst kind of political treachery," Mr Perrett said.

"To promise something to those in need and then weasel your way out is an absolute disgrace.

"This is just another example of Labor failing its obligations in pest and weed management in Queensland."

RELATED STORY: 'Show us the money: Prickly acacia funding goes missing'.

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