Katters Australian Party targets Save the ‘Great Barrier Reef’ industry
North Queensland readers would find it more than interesting the Cairns Post newspaper has ignored this story
KAP Candidate for Leichhardt, Daniel McCarthy has today called for a forensic audit to be carried out on all Barrier Reef government funding warning that the ‘rivers of gold’ crisis funding being allocated to save a reef that doesn’t need saving have flowed for far too long and it was time to reveal to tax payers just how their money was being spent.
A select few crisis-crying people have done exceedingly well from millions of dollars in tax payer funded grants whilst the rest of the marine tourism industry in Cairns and Port Douglas have suffered tremendously.
“We have the third largest territorial sea of any nation yet no politicians currently in Canberra have the slightest grasp on reality with our oceans, and it now seems government doesn’t know or has been turning a blind eye to where the reef funding money has been funnelled and a full and thorough forensic audit will determine what’s been going on with the $102 million been spent on Crown of Thorns alone,” said Mr McCarthy.
The negative publicity in the world wide media is a result of outrageous false and misleading claims made by those milking the gravy train has destroyed the reputation of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
“The knock-on effect caused by the reef’s trashed reputation has flowed through the North.
“Cairns Port expansion plans are held to ransom by the Federal governments Reef 2050 plan along with the unnecessary State Government vegetation management laws and increased green-tape where virtually every farmer in North and Far North Qld has also been vilified along the way.
“It’s high time to restore integrity into science, policy and research funding for the Great Barrier Reef.”
The current media reports of the sacking of Prof Peter Ridd by James Cook University is currently before the courts and is deeply troubling.
“As far as I am aware Prof Ridd was simply offering a scientific view that the science in relation to reef funding should be quality controlled.”
Recently the Crown of Thorns starfish funding had been under scrutiny in wide spread revelations in the media.
“We all want to protect the GBR that’s for sure. However, I have been inundated with phone calls from people across the marine sector and the public who are absolutely ropable over the reef funding scandal that has come to light.”
McCarthy has a deep understanding of the threats and the reality of what’s actually happening on the reef, having worked on it for most the last 30 years and in every sector of the marine industry.
“I have long been concerned that the relationships and arrangements for reef funding were ‘a little cozy’ between a couple of individuals and their organisations and members of parliament, but what has been revealed in recent wide spread media of late it appears the situation stinks of jobs for the boys to say the least.”
Hard working Australian tax payers are having hundreds of millions of their dollars directed into the ‘save the Reef’ industry.
Now it appears some of this money may have been funnelled into saving for retirement, penthouses, expensive luxury cars, hobby farms on the Tablelands, overseas holidays and election campaign funding for a select few. It certainly does not pass the pub test.
Mr McCarthy is furious at many of the matters being raised particularly with what equates to ‘Donor Democracy.’
“If what is alleged in these media reports is true I think it disgraceful. Australian’s are fed up with seeing their money being swallowed up in deceptive, self-interested projects under the guise of saving things,” he said.
“I support Dr Peter Ridd’s proposal that at least one per cent of the funding that goes to the Great Barrier Reef is spent on checking the science, verifying the findings and providing quality assurance.”
There are many further questions to be asked as to why the Federal Government gave $440 million to a private company that never asked for the money nor has the capacity or idea as what they intend to do with it.
Lakeland farmers have been told they no longer own the water after rainfall hits the ground on their properties.
Desperate for irrigation water to keep their banana crops alive the State Government delivered a mortal blow preventing farmers from building any more dams over 50 megalitres capacity without applying for an expensive licence.
Mareeba-based Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy officer Patrick Huber broke the devastating news at a meeting of Lakeland farmers recently.
Mr Huber stressed that water caught in domestic rainwater tanks was safe from government hands but any other water belonged to the State.
Releasing the Draft Water Plan for Cape York Peninsula he said overland flow had to be protected and the department would soon require land owners with existing dams, large or small, to supply dam measurements and capacities to the department.
Within 12 months of receiving the information the DNR would then issue a licence for the water and install meters on all private dams to get an idea of water usage.
When questioned if the reason for water meters was to charge landowners for their own water, Mr Huber said there was no mention of this in the draft plan.
It was pointed out that other Labor states began charging farmers fees for private water storages more than a decade ago but DNR staff denied this was their intention.
The Draft Plan allowed for total usage of only 2.5 per cent of the entire water availability on Cape York, which did not impress the meeting.
In the Normanby Basin which includes Lakeland, “the Draft Bill allows 2000 ml for general use but has allocated 16,000 ml to indigenous groups because they are the largest landowners under the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act,” Mr Huber said.
“If farmers require more water allocation they can buy it from various indigenous bodies at commercial water trading prices.”
The Plan allows for a total of 516,350 ml of unallocated water across Cape York.
Lakeland stud cattle breeder Bill Reddie questioned why no more dams could be built saying he had lived at Lakeland since the 1980’s.
“There is more water going down our gullies than 30 years ago which could be caught,” Mr Reddie commented.
Weipa grazier Mr John Witherspoon said he was angry the DNR had not provided any allocation in the Watson catchment or allowed more water for farm usage across the Cape.
“The State Government is right out of touch with the Peninsula and we should be demonstrating against them over taking away our water rights and charging so much just to apply for a licence with no guarantee of getting it,” Mr Witherspoon said.
In attendance at the meeting was Katters Australian Party candidate for Leichardt Dan McCarthy who questioned the reason for restricting land owners access to the vast amount of fresh water on Cape York thus preventing any further agricultural development.
“I am very concerned about the overarching policy of only allowing 2.5 per cent of water that falls on Cape York for farming,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The government needs to make up their minds. They are restricting access to a mere 2.5 per cent of rainfall that falls from the sky claiming any more would be detrimental to the environment, yet on the other hand they squeal like a stuck pig that runoff is killing the reef.
“We are blessed with abundant water during the wet season and we should be encouraging land owners to capture more water rather than the State Government persecuting them for using a natural resource.
“It’s disgraceful situation that legislation is leading towards farmers having to install meters on their own dams on their own properties which will lead to them having to pay for their own water..
“We are constantly told that runoff is killing the barrier reef but farmers want to capture water runoff.
“KAP policy is that farmers own any water that falls on their property so how is it they can eventually charge farmers for their own water? – contributed