by Viv Forbes, science writer
The proposed Adani mine has been wading through a green swamp of political obstacles for nine long years. Other coal optimists have struggled to develop coal in the Galilee Basin for over 40 years. Federal Labor, State Labor and the Greens have taken turns to man the anti-coal barricades.
In these bad new days, before anyone can open a mine they need multiple approvals, each one providing opportunities for do-nothing activists to raise new hurdles at every hearing. The whole process of judicial judgements and reviews, enquiries, objections, hearings and re-hearings has been a gold mine for lawyers and barristers and a bottomless pit into which mine optimists throw money.
Nine years ago, Labor Premier Anna Bligh declared Adani “a significant project for Queensland”.
The Queensland Co-ordinator General gave Adani approval to proceed in 2014.
The Federal Government also gave its approval to proceed in 2014 but that approval was set aside because of complaints by the Mackay Conservation Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation and others that the yakka skink, the ornamental snake, koalas, the waxy cabbage palm and the black throated finch would be disturbed.
And of course the Great Barrier Reef, the coastal seagrass and inland ground water would be threatened.
The ACF and the Greens have also cowed most Australian banks into denying finance to the Carmichael Project. Native title rights have been asserted by two groups, and Greenpeace and the Climate Council have run scare campaigns on Greenhouse gas emissions should Adani go ahead. Naturally the ABC gives all Adani opponents good air time.
Just 5 months ago the anti-Adani Deputy Premier of Queensland, Jacki Trad, said she did not believe the Adani project would ever get off the ground.
But immediately after the recent Federal election landslide which left the ALP holding zero federal seats north of Brisbane, and winning only one of the six Queensland senate vacancies, Queensland Premier Palaszczuk flew north to Mackay and demanded that her departments produce firm timeline for Adani decisions “by Friday” (today).
What a difference a day makes.
Party duopoly throw farmers to the wolves
The Queensland Government’s Farm Business Debt Mediation Act, which it is spruiking in a media release today, is a ruse to cover the fact it has completely failed to address the farm debt crisis.
“It’s another frightening example of a government putting ambulances at the bottom of the cliff,” Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter said.
Robbie is warning people not to be fooled by the Government’s ‘solution’ which comes into play next month. “A farm debt mediation mechanism doesn’t solve the debt problem, it just means that when the farmer is finally completely crippled by debt, they can shut their business efficiently. It’s a complete slap in the face to the entire agriculture industry,” Robbie said.
In March this year, the government and LNP refused to support KAP’s Rural Debt Bill, which would have addressed the unsustainable levels of farm debt, which is bringing Queensland’s agriculture industry to its knees.
“Through the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce that I chaired in this parliament, it was clear that the debt problem is massive and that a significant response from the Government was required to address it,” Robbie said.
“In 2015, I thought the Palaszczuk Government was serious about identifying solutions to address rural debt issues with the formation of a Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce. I was wrong. Just like the opposition they prefer to leave it to the market. This approach has delivered a declining sugar industry, a decimated dairy industry and some of the most expensive gas and electricity in the world.”
“Governments intervene in markets all the time. Between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, there’s about $5 billion worth of low-interest loans to help stimulate the industry. However, when it comes to supporting agriculture, and particularly family enterprises, the Government doesn’t want to touch it”.
“Instead of supporting KAP’s Rural Debt Bill, which was created off the back of extensive investigation and consultation, and would have made a real difference to fixing the rural debt problem, the government pushed through its mediation act to make it look like it was doing something,” Robbie said.
“It’s a disgrace. It’s just another example of how little the major parties care about anything that’s happening outside of Brisbane.”
Bolshevik Bill Byrne alias Bolshevik Buffalo Bill the former army officer turned Labor politician wants to disarm law abiding farmers who use revolvers. He should tell us more about the possums he used to shoot in the ceiling of his house in town with a .22 rifle. Why penalise farmers for your indiscretions Buffalo Bill? Why not tell us about the Browning 9mm semi-automatic pistol you carried while in the army? That was your profession just the same as farmers need to carry a sidearm because it is their profession. Keep your hatred of farmers to yourself!
PRODUCERS ARE NOT “LONE COWBOYS” SAYS KAP
Rural property owners and hand gun users have been labelled “lone cowboys,” by Police Minister Bill Byrne in Parliament today.
The statement was made when the Minister was questioned by Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter, as to why the licenses and renewals for Category H weapons are being consistently denied.
Disregarding the safety of property owners when travelling via bike or horse, the Minister stated he simply did not accept the idea that a pistol was a legitimate agricultural tool.
“The idea of the lone cowboy, with the pistol strapped to the hip as an effective weapon in an agricultural application simply doesn’t cut it with me,” the Minister said.
“The core argument that a concealable pistol, Glock or any equivalent type of weapon is going to be a preferable agricultural weapon, for application in the agricultural sector is not a viable argument to make,” he said.
Mr Katter said he was extremely concerned to hear the statements from the Minister responsible for gun regulation.
“The Minister clearly does not appreciate the reasons for pistol use or have any concern for landowners on isolated rural properties,” Mr Katter said.
“To simply deny licenses because of personal beliefs is shocking, and highly irresponsible,” he said.
Mr Katter said many graziers had expressed their concern about safety when travelling with a cumbersome rifle, and frequently used a pistol especially when dealing with feral animals at close range.
“It is not uncommon for producers working alone in remote areas to check stock water while in the vicinity of wild dogs, this is a very compromising position,” Mr Katter said.
“Pistols have long been a tool within Australia, the suggestion that pistol use in outback pastoral Australia is not a legitimate agricultural tool is outrageous.”
“These statements are unfair on lawful producers who rely on these tools in remote areas,” he said.
Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said he has heard from many people were also bewildered that their licenses had not been renewed.
“I’ve received complaints from responsible firearm owners who have had their applications rejected,” Mr Knuth said.
“I struggle to see how a producer using a handgun in thick country on dying cattle and feral animals isn’t appropriate agricultural use,” he said.
KAP will continue to fight vehemently for the rights of firearm owners in rural and regional Queensland.