House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Private Members' Business

Protection of National Parks

8:57 pm

Photo of Jill HallJill Hall (Shortland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

For the record of the House, this motion, moved by the member for Makin, came from the report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts. It is based on the unanimous recommendations of the committee.

To describe it as an antifarming motion, a motion that is denigrating farmers, is an absolute falsehood. Nowhere in this motion does it refer to farmers or does it seek to denigrate farmers. If members would like to have a look at this report, there is mention of best practice that many farmers undertake.

This motion is about highlighting the importance of preserving our biodiversity. Farmers can do that just as well as any person in this House who is involved in farming. To say that this motion is about denigrating farmers is just ludicrous.

During the inquiry the committee learnt just how important it is that our biodiversity and our environment be protected. One member of the committee is actually a farmer—and very proud of the fact that she is a farmer—and has a long farming history. For that matter, I grew up in the country and my husband was born on a farm. We have discussed this report, and he is very supportive of it.

During the inquiry, we learnt about the grazing of cattle on the alps and we heard from Dr Graeme Worboys. He is the vice chair of the International Union for Conservation of nature's mountains and connective conservation and also an executive member of the World Commission on Protected Areas. He told us how important it was to have corridors and to protect our national parks. Grazing is very important, but not in national parks. There are places where certain activities take place and should take place, but there are other places that should be protected. That is what this motion seeks to do.

In my state of New South Wales, I have been very disturbed by some of the things that have happened since there has been a change of government. On the Central Coast of New South Wales, prior to the election of Barry O'Farrell, all the members went out and stated that they opposed a coalmine in the Wyong Valley. The reason that there is a lot of debate about this mine is the suitability of that area for a mine. It is an area where there has been a history of water shortage. The aquifers will take 500 years to recover, 245 houses will be affected by subsidence each day and it will lead to a major reduction in water. People will be really affected by this, and it is inappropriate as far as the geology of the area is concerned. Before the election, Barry O'Farrell and his men and women promised that there would be no mine. After the election, they are sponsoring this activity. I am so supportive of mines. I think we need mines, but I do not support mines that are inappropriate. This one is inappropriate, and you have a state government that argues one thing before an election and another thing after the election.

Similarly, we have shooting in national parks in New South Wales—totally unacceptable. Now there is talk about logging in national parks. That is not saying that to you should not log anywhere; it is saying that you do not log in national parks. You do not shoot in national parks, and you make sure that mining that takes place is appropriate. (Time expired)


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