SPEAKING OUT: Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert is calling for a reef laws pause. Photo: Emma Murray
SPEAKING OUT: Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert is calling for a reef laws pause. Photo: Emma Murray

Mackay MP calls for reef laws halt

MACKAY MP Julieanne Gilbert has called for a five-year halt to her own party's controversial reef protection laws. 

Mrs Gilbert is calling on Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch to "support the hard work of local farmers" by committing to no changes to the reef regulations for at least five years. 

"The agriculture industry and other bodies have raised concerns that the standards proposed in the reef regulations might be changed," she said in a statement on Friday. 

"We have heard them loud and clear. 

"To give our farmers and the industry certainty, I have suggested that the standards for agricultural activities in these laws should not be changed for at least five years."   

SPEAKING OUT: Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert calls for workable solutions on new reef laws
SPEAKING OUT: Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert calls for workable solutions on new reef laws

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said he understood the State Government was now considering changes to the bill, after Canegrowers representatives met with Ms Enoch in Brisbane on Thursday. 

"Our preference is for the bill to not go ahead, we think it's not the right approach," Mr Schembri said. 

"The business model of regulating farmers, we think, is a flawed model." 

A spokeswoman for Ms Enoch said changes to the legislation were not being considered. 

"Just in the last month we have seen scientific evidence in the Reef Outlook Report and the 2017 - 18 Reef Water Quality Report Card that proves the Reef is under threat, and that urgent action is needed," she said. 

Burdekin MP Dale Last has called on Mrs Gilbert to cross the floor over the proposed laws. 

"Clearly she now understands the ramifications this bill will have on our farming sector and I certainly hope she is conveying that message to her parliamentary colleagues," he said. 

But Mrs Gilbert has not pulled support for the reef bill, saying the new laws would help improve water quality and "safeguard the reef into the future".



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