House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023


Great Barrier Reef

4:16 pm

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Katter's Australian Party) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Kennedy from moving the following motion—That the House:

(1) notes the Minister for the Environment may have sent a letter "in camera", on 25 May 2023, to the Director General of UNESCO, without public scrutiny;

(2) notes that this letter sets out in detail Reef and Gulf runoff regulatory impositions that will result in the closure of agriculture on Queensland's Gulf and east coast;

(3) notes that if the proposals detailed in the letter received Governor in Council assent, they would shut down the commercial fishing, severely damage tourism, much of which is based upon recreational fishing and tourist access to the reef;

(4) notes that this mortal blow might also extend to the Northern cattle, sugar and banana industries;

(5) notes that the 2021-2022 annual report of coral reef condition, prepared by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, demonstrated that the Northern and Central regions of the Great Barrier Reef have the highest coral cover measured in 36 years of monitoring, the Southern section only declined slightly due to crown of thorns outbreaks;

(6) notes that given the excellent health of the reef there is no evidence that agricultural run off is affecting the reef and as such there is no justification for arbitrary regulatory impositions that will detrimentally affect the agriculture sector and broader community; and

(7) calls on the Minister for the Environment to:

(a) confirm the letter's authenticity;

(b) provide advice as to who provided the authorization for the commitment given in the letter;

(c) specifically advise if the Cabinet was made aware of this letter and authorized its release;

(d) advise whether the Premier of Queensland was made aware of this letter and, if the Premier was not advised, acknowledge the serious breach of proper protocol; and

(e) acknowledge that the communication and commitments given were an unprecedented breach of Australian constitutional conventions.

The previous speech was about the vote on the Voice referendum, and the burning question for First Australians, if any of you have ever listened to First Australians—


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