House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Private Members' Business

Protection of National Parks

9:03 pm

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

It never ceases to amaze me in this place that the member for Hindmarsh is an expert in grazing in North Queensland along with the member for Makin and the member for the La Trobe. If my geography serves me correctly, they are all in inner-city suburbs, yet they are great experts in national parks in North Queensland! I will give you a little lesson because, obviously, you have not done any homework at all.

They were all grazing cattle for nearly 150 years. Jardine and Ernest Henry took cattle up their in the 1860s and 1870s. There have been cattle and cattle stations up there for 150 years. If you are so naive as to believe that a three-strand barbed fence will stop cattle when they are hungry and have no grass, then you believe in the tooth fairy. So, that is a little lesson for you so you can understand things.

Whilst that might be humorous, what is not humorous are the national parks in North Queensland. God bless the ABC for doing a series on six people looking after an area the size of Germany and half of France—six people looking after it! Of course, no-one is looking after it—that is the actual fact of the matter.

Out in the national parks, in one area alone between Tully and Innisfail we were getting 800 pigs a year. We started off getting 1,000. Then we got 800, and for two years we just kept getting 800. In other words, the pig numbers were huge in that national park area. If there is ever a destructive animal for which something needs to be done, it is the pigs.

But what they refer to as national parks in North Queensland are pig farms, fire starters and weed nurseries. That is exactly what they are. We had the giant fires because there are no control mechanisms. On a cattle station, you get miles of control mechanisms and you burn regularly. That has been the blackfella way, and then the whitefella got it off the blackfella, so we have been burning for all of our history. All that you see on the Australian landscape was put there by fire-stick farming. I strongly recommend that you read the history books of Geoffrey Blainey to get the dimensions of fire-stick farming in this country.

I went into the Queensland Museum and was absolutely horrified to see the six most endangered species. The first was the Julia Creek dunnart, which is right in the heart of my homeland. They said it was endangered because of pugging, which is fine except that it lives in cracking clay country which is covered by cracks in the earth about three inches wide, yet they said that pugging is going to destroy the Julia Creek dunnart. Pigs and prickly acacia trees are destroying the Julia Creek dunnart, the most endangered species in Australia.

In the Magna Carta, our forebears in 1215—Bishop Langston: what a great man. He said that the land does not belong to the Crown; the land belongs to the people and they have a right to sustenance from that land. That is a great principle. It is a principle for which our forebears died.

The greenies have managed to tie up Shelburne Bay, which is a dune blowing into the ocean worth $4,000 million a year to the Australian economy and it will all be gone within 100 years—absolutely provable, verifiable. They put a national park straight over the top of the Laura coal basin, so we will not be able to use any of the coal in that basin. The First Australians are the people who lived there. They are the ones who would be getting the jobs. With the Constance Range iron ore, again, the people who would be getting the jobs in almost all of that area are First Australians. They are the people deprived of a living.

Debate adjourned.


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