Mount Isa MP Rob Katter is calling for more public consultation in the nation’s “biggest gun laws reform since the Howard era”
KAP state leader Rob Katter said, after a year without substantial discussions, it was time for the state government to open up a line of communication with licenced gun owners.
Mr Katter said it was important the wider public was involved in discussions about firearms safety and the development of the new National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
A review into the NFA was ordered last year, following a recommendation of the Martin Place siege review.
The review aims to modernise Australia’s original firearm agreement, created in 1996 by the Howard Government.
Mr Katter said the state’s rural sector, including farmers, had been left in the dark with Queensland’s contribution to the review.
“The shooting community are always trying to work with the government, we cannot continue to let such a significant portion of the rural population be ostracised,” he said.
The MP has continued to call on the government to reinstate the Weapons Advisory Panel, which had he said worked constructively with previous ALP and LNP governments, to ensure a rounded view on firearms policy and associated matters.
“Last year we approached the former police minister on the issue of the Weapons Advisory Panel which was disbanded last February by the Palaszczuk Government,” Mr Katter said.
“Since that time there has been no consultation with those who will be effected by the new agreement, outside of the Queensland Police Service.”
Mr Katter said he will again be approaching current Police Minister Bill Byrne on the matter of the review, to ensure firearm owners are part of the conversation.
“At this stage, with only preliminary talks we have high hopes Minister Byrne will have a fair and open approach to the panel and the community of licenced gun owners,” he said.
“There are many initiatives that the group would hope to develop with the government, that can enhance safety measures and minimise costs to the taxpayer.
“As we have made very clear in the past, we will be doing everything within our power to ensure appropriate consultation around these laws takes place.
“We don’t want to see the government place any unnecessary restrictions against law abiding gun owners, sportsmen and women.”
“We do not want a return to the nasty era of tree police”
KAP member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth
An emotionally-charged meeting of Far Northern pastoralists, indigenous representatives, councils and farmers at Mareeba has urged three State Parliamentary crossbenchers to vote down proposed changes to the Vegetation Management Act.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, in a move to appease Brisbane environmentalists and bolster Greens Party preference support for the ALP, will introduce new VMA regulations to halt tree clearing in State Parliament this week.
Agforce hosted the gathering of nearly 80 primary producers and industry representatives from Innisfail to Cape York Peninsula, held at Mareeba Bowls Club on Tuesday.
In spite of the threat of a snap election, crossbenchers Rob Katter and Shane Knuth vowed they would vote against the new regulations that Mr Knuth said would set the state back 20 years.
“We have been telling the Premier for a long time that landowners cannot afford and will not support the return to the nasty era of tree police,” Mr Knuth said.
“We have just had one of the worst droughts in history with record numbers of bank foreclosures and the Labor Party wants to make farmers suffer even more.
“We will not support the new laws.”
After the meeting Mr Knuth said he did not know which way Member for Cairns, now independent Rob Pyne would vote after he deserted the Labor Party last week.
While addressing the audience, Member for Cook Billy Gordon tacitly approved the stance of his crossbench colleagues.
Agforce General President Grant Maudsley said the State Government’s own data showed tree coverage in Queensland increased by 437,000 hectares between 2012 – 2014.
“Moves by the government to reject simple data and repeal the current vegetation management laws are the biggest threat to Queensland farmers since the Gillard Government smashed the live cattle export trade in 2011,” Mr Maudsley told the meeting.
“The results for consumers will be more expensive fresh produce and a loss of jobs. Meat processors have already started putting off staff because of a slow-down in domestic cattle supply as the national herd hits a 20 year low.”
Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers representative Makse Srhoj warned the new laws would impact severely on farms within the MDIA because of their smaller size.
“If we have to leave 30 per cent remnant vegetation on a block then we can’t do anything with them, particularly if there are two or more deeds,” Mr Srhoj said.
“Who looks after the land the best? Farmers; we are the real greenies.”
Noel Pearson says even white people have land rights
A member of the panel, indigenous leader Noel Pearson, waded in roundly condemning green groups and the ALP Government for holding back economic opportunities in northern communities, rejecting the new laws as a ‘rebirth’ of Wild Rivers legislation.
In his hallmark immutable style Pearson did not hold back, criticising Federal Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and former Member for Cook, David Kempton for waging a “disgraceful campaign against Billy Gordon” after he was elected.
“These guys are ‘false prophets,’” Mr Pearson told an entirely attentive audience.
“We have no property rights on Cape York and we need upgraded tenure. There are lots of fronts where all landowners are vulnerable.”
Public servants who once worked for environmental lobby groups were targeted by Pearson for pushing extreme green agendas within government.
“These greens have infiltrated indigenous groups and government departments and it’s like a tag team, they are all the same, and have networked with all departments,” Mr Pearson said.
“Public servants should declare their association with environmental groups.
“The proposition there is going to be land clearing the size of Victoria, is fantasy.
“There are only pockets of land suitable for development.
“White people too have had many generations on this land and they have a great love for their land. It’s high time the law in Queensland started to respect that relationship.
“We spent five hard years and lots of money fighting Wild Rivers in court but we could have been doing other more productive things.
“We need another 10 independents in parliament to put us in a better position, given the absence of an Upper House.”