House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Private Members' Business

Protection of National Parks

8:28 pm

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport) Share this | | Hansard source

I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this important motion, because it allows me the chance to discuss a range of natural resource management issues that are important to my community; in fact, more broadly, throughout regional Australia.

I am always fascinated when we have city based Labor members and city based Greens members lecturing regional Australians about environmental issues. It must be the view from those leafy suburbs that apparently brings brilliant insight into the management of distant national parks and recreational reserves.

This motion amounts to an attempt to take over national parks management by the federal government from the states. This is one that the environment minister tried himself in about 2011, I think, and he failed miserably, just as he has failed in relation to EPBC reform and his planned takeover of the states' national parks was a stunt in 2011. He has dusted off an old idea in the lead-up to this new election in 2013 . It is a stunt again today.

Back then, Mr Burke was challenged to come up with clear and comprehensive evidence to justify a federal takeover of the states' national parks. He failed to do so then. He has failed to do so today. It has only reinforced my view that this is purely a political stunt from a desperate minister.

We are talking about the same minister who, when he was the minister for agriculture, actually stripped money out of Landcare. He actually stripped money out of the practical environmentalists in our community. I think it was in 2010. He simply cannot be taken seriously when it comes to issues of practical environmental management. He is big on hyperbole and grand gestures but, when it comes to actually rolling your sleeves up, getting your hands dirty and doing that practical environmental work, this minister has been missing in action.

'Lock it up and leave it' is not an environmental policy; it is a recipe for disaster. But it is the preferred policy of the Greens and, increasingly, it has become the preferred policy of the inner-city Laborites who never have to work or live in the environment or make a living off the land they pretend to protect. The classic example of this is prescribed burning, which has long been opposed by the inner-city Greens—but, when it comes to prescribed burning, those same individuals have been strangely silent on the issue since the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. I strongly believe in multi-use, with people accessing our parks—actually getting out there and enjoying the facilities that are on offer and enjoying everything that there is to be enjoyed in the national park environment—because they have more respect for it as a result.

In the time I have available to me, there are three issues that I want to discuss that are directly linked to this motion. They are this government's failure to get serious about the control of pest plants and animals in our nation. I also want to discuss the Commonwealth's interference on the issue of alpine grazing, which the member for Makin quite helpfully raised on my behalf. Another issue I also want to discuss is the Commonwealth's abject failure to meet its international commitments with it comes to Ramsar listed wetlands, such as the Gippsland lakes in my electorate.

I want to begin with the reference in the motion to biodiversity and environmental risks. One of the biggest risks to the native species in our nation is the impact of feral species. I am not going to talk about weeds so much tonight; I will talk about the feral animals in our nation. We are talking about cats, pigs, goats, camels and foxes. But in my electorate probably the biggest threat to biodiversity is the impact of feral dogs. They are of enormous economic concern and also take a very heavy environmental and social toll in my community.

The state government, to its credit, is doing its part. The current coalition state government has come to the party and has increased funding for trapping and shooting. It has introduced a bounty to encourage hunters to go out, but it also wanted to aerial baiting. You would think that aerial baiting would be well received. After all, it has been successful in New South Wales. The research has been done and the impact on the spotted quoll was found to be minimal. But this federal government, the minister, actually blocked aerial baiting in Victoria. Even though it has been successful in Victoria and even though the research has been done, he actually got his department to call for more research.

So the Victorian state government had a choice: they could do research on the quolls in Victoria—even though we know they are the same as the quolls in New South Wales—or they could spend the money killing wild dogs. Funnily enough, the Victorian state government made the choice to put more money into their baiting program and their shooting and trapping program and decided not to go ahead with the aerial baiting of wild dogs, as long as this minister is in his position. So it confuses and concerns me when members opposite come here and talk about biodiversity and environmental risks, when their own minister refuses to support a proven technique for killing wild dogs, for controlling them in a way that is actually beneficial to native species—let alone the enormous benefits that flow through to the primary agricultural sector in my community. If this minister wants to interfere in the management of these environmental reserves, as referred to in the motion, at least he could interfere and do something positive for the people in my electorate who are concerned about feral species.

Another issue that was raised by the member for Makin which concerns me was his reference to alpine grazing. This is an issue that was specifically referred to in a motion and was the subject of a disallowance motion in March 2012. So my thoughts on that issue are well known. They are on the Hansard and they have been put on the public record many times since. The Victorian state government won a clear mandate at the 2010 state election. The coalition government campaigned for the return of alpine grazing as a bushfire mitigation measure. The coalition won the election. So what did they do? They introduced a trial of grazing in the alpine country to try to reduce the impact of bushfires. So what did the Labor Party do at the federal level? Well, the minister just had to intervene. In a scurrilous attempt to enforce a federal takeover—which is what it amounts to—in relation to the EPBC Act upon the Victorians. That was the subject of the disallowance motion which was defeated by one vote—when some of the Independents teamed with the Greens and the Labor Party to defeat the motion.

The member for Makin talked about cattle and about the enormous damage that they had supposedly done to the Alpine National Park, but he did not make any reference to any other hard-hooved species in the Alpine National Park. In fact, the Saturday Age of this very weekend had a story about brumbies—10,000 brumbies in the Alpine National Park. But there is never a mention from those opposite about that feral species. There is never a mention—'There's The Man from Snowy River. We'd better look after the brumbies. We won't talk about the real environmental issues; we will use the mountain cattlemen to try to score some very tawdry political points.' They never talk about the real risks to the environment of the alpine region.

All of this gives me pause for thought. Why do Labor MPs feel so compelled to support the Greens? It is a reasonable question. When you look opposite and you look at their primary vote, you understand that there are about 40 Labor members of parliament who actually need the preferences of the Greens to win their seats.

Mr Katter interjecting

The member for Kennedy will have his turn. They need Greens preferences to try to get across the line; hence they have been prepared to decimate the mountain cattlemen's 150 years of tradition—all in a desperate bid for Green votes.

If the member for Makin was sincere in his belief that the cattle in the Alpine National Park and alpine country Victoria had done so much damage, how is it possible that they were able to go to the Alpine National Park—go to that high country—for more than 150 years and that region was so badly damaged and yet we made it into a national park? They had been going there for 150 years and yet we made it into a national park. It cannot have been that bad. And they do not talk about skiing and putting ski lodges in there, as that would really offend the inner-city Lefties and the Greens.

So I say to those opposite: I will give you some free advice. When it comes to the Greens, let me promise you: they are never satisfied. Just because you do one deal, do not believe they will not be back tomorrow knocking on your door for another deal. They will shaft you at the first chance they can get. They are a party of protest. They need to fight for something to exist. They are not a party of government. In order to exist, they have to campaign against something. When you do deals with the Greens, you are doing deals with the devil. I just urge those opposite to stop telling regional Victorians how to live their lives and stop doing deals with the Australian Greens.

Finally, in the short amount of time I have left—and I agree with the member for Makin that there are many other issues we would like to discuss tonight—I would like to mention this government's miserable record when it comes to natural resource management as it relates to the Gippsland Lakes and their catchment area. The state government has just announced $10 million over three years to support practical environmental works in the catchment. Even though these are Ramsar-listed wetlands and the federal government recognised in 2007 that it had some obligations and gave $3 million to the Gippsland Lakes catchment, there has not been a cent since. This government has not given a cent since to water quality, to nutrient reduction or to control pest species that would impact on these Ramsar-listed wetlands. It is vital that the Commonwealth recognise its responsibilities in relation to the Gippsland Lakes and their catchment areas for the economic, social, environmental and cultural benefit they bring to the broader Gippsland region. I thank the House. (Time expired)

8:38 pm

Photo of Laura SmythLaura Smyth (La Trobe, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This is indeed a timely and very welcome resolution put forward by the member for Makin, because we are starting to see precisely what happens to our environment and to our biodiversity when people elect a conservative government. It was enlightening to hear the words of the member for Gippsland. When the Baillieu-Napthine government came to office, what was amongst the first things that it chose to do? It was not about fostering industry. It was not about providing extra assistance to schools or to health. It was all about shoring up support amongst its own supporter base and taking 'decisive action' in relation to the 'critical issue' of alpine grazing—really decisive action! So, if we are talking about whose supporter base is being spoken to with the actions of government, we know very clearly, Member for Gippsland, where the Baillieu government and now the Napthine government lined up on these issues.

But it is not just in Victoria that these sorts of issues persist in coming up; it is in Queensland and New South Wales. In Queensland, for instance, we have seen the Newman government moving to allow cattle grazing in drought times in some five national parks, I believe, and eight state parks. In addition to that, I understand the Queensland government has also commenced a review of all protected areas created after 2002 to consider the potential for logging of those areas. So it is yet another conservative government pushing ahead with its retrograde moves on the environment. In New South Wales we have seen a cattle grazing trial launched in the Millewa National Park at the determination of the O'Farrell government. We have also seen the New South Wales conservatives agreeing to allow recreational shooters into national parks.

As I said, we have seen the Baillieu-Napthine government in Victoria launching a cattle grazing trial in the Alpine National Park, although of course that has now been prevented by ministerial intervention, and rightly so. However, notwithstanding that, the Napthine government has gone back for another bite and is in fact considering letting weekend gold and gemstone hunters prospect in some Victorian national parks. It is interesting to have a look at the report that has been prepared in relation to this by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council, which had as its chair Mr Phil Honeywood, a former Liberal Party minister. He has made some interesting comments in relation to the prospect of damage that may be occasioned by prospecting in national parks, but I will come to that a little bit later if time allows.

Removing cattle from the Alpine National Park, as has been touched on by the last two speakers, was a move that was originally pursued by a Labor minister for environment in Victoria, John Thwaites. It was a step taken by Labor, and it is something that this side can rightly be proud of, because national parks are places which provide a protected habitat for local wildlife. They are a means by which we can preserve our biodiversity and provide support for what can be fragile ecosystems and threatened native wildlife. National parks should not simply stand for the benefit of commercial operations, graziers or business owners; they are for the benefit of this generation and the next. Particularly at a time when we are talking about the damaging effects of dangerous climate change on our national biodiversity, they are more important than ever.

The seemingly scientific arguments presented by the Victorian government in support of the benefits of alpine grazing as a means of reducing the risk of bushfire have been shown to be rubbish. Scientists did not even have the opportunity to assess the environment within the Alpine National Park that was likely to be affected before the Victorian government rushed in cattle.

In the time remaining to me, I might refer again to the use of national parks for gold and gemstone prospecting. I said that the relevant decision-making body advising in relation to this, chaired by Phil Honeywood, had already talked about the evidence of the damage from prospecting. It noted evidence from Melbourne Water, which raised concerns that prospecting could undermine other efforts to improve the health of the river system. Indeed, Phil Honeywood suggested that prospecting did not 'sit well with the purposes of national and state parks'. Indeed that is correct. Ultimately, what is the point of designated conservation parks if not to protect our biodiversity and our vulnerable or ecologically important species? We are here to serve the national interest, and this side of the House will continue to act to preserve those natural assets.

8:43 pm

Photo of Warren EntschWarren Entsch (Leichhardt, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In rising to speak on this motion put forward by the member for Makin, I would like to put some level of balance and common sense into this argument. Clearly those that are contributing on the other side are city-centric and probably understand only what they read in the papers, the magazines and what have you in relation to national parks. Certainly, when I listen to some of the arguments put forward, it is more about ideology than practicality and reality.

I am very much a strong proponent of national parks and protecting our biodiversity and our amazing fauna and flora. Make no questions about it: in Leichhardt we have some truly spectacular natural areas within the Daintree, Lakefield, Black Mountain and Jardine River national parks, and they attract many visitors to our region, and of course tourism is the backbone of our economy. However, in considering this motion today in particular in regards to Queensland, the member for Makin clearly has no understanding regarding some of the relevant information.

The Queensland government's decision to allow graziers to agist drought-stricken cattle in five national parks and eight reserves was an emergency response to an emergency situation. We have tens of thousands of head of cattle that are slowly starving to death. It could take months but eventually they will die. This tragic situation has arisen from a perfect storm of events, the first and most significant being the Gillard government's knee-jerk decision to ban live exports to Indonesia in mid-2011. This decision has resulted in an oversupply of cattle in our properties. The irony is that for a long period after the ban the cattle would not be exported because they were above the weight limits permitted for live export. Now, however, graziers are struggling to find enough grass to feed these cattle thanks to bushfires and emerging drought. We also have the oncoming calf drop in October-November which will further exacerbate the problem.

As for the assertion by the environment minister, Tony Burke, that the Queensland government just wants to trample national parks, can I say that, like the member for Makin, Mr Burke has no idea what he is talking about. As a grazier myself I can testify that we have to be practical about the fact that you are breeding and raising cattle for slaughter but this does not mean that any grazier wants to see their cattle suffering, slowly starving to death on land that can no longer support them. The decision to open up some of these conservation areas and national parks is purely a commonsense approach and certainly a very humane one in relation to treatment of these animals. It seems that many people, including green groups, have conveniently forgotten that the national parks in question have predominantly been former cattle stations. Given that they were considered suitable for inclusion in the national parks after more than 100 years of cattle grazing, where is the risk to their suitability after temporary usage by graziers in their time of need? There is absolutely no reason why these parks cannot be managed in an appropriate way viewed as a valid management process rather than as the environmental disaster that the green groups are promoting. Grazing will help manage invasive species like buffel grass and other weeds and counter pests including pigs and dingoes.

In addition, I do not believe that the animal welfare groups comprehend the consequences of their actions. Given the key role they played in this situation, they need to come forward and offer their support. I would like to see Animals Australia and other highly vocal welfare groups and maybe the member for Makin take a trip to these areas in regional Queensland, walk through the paddocks and see these starving cattle. I would even go so far as to say that if they really wanted to help they should bring along a gun, bring the ammunition and save the farmer the anguish of having to shoot their own animals. This would certainly effectively drive home to them the true impact of rushed and poorly conceived policy. This whole situation came about because of an absolute stuff-up by the Gillard government, and there has been very little done to try and improve the situation. The nonsense about offering $60 million in low-interest loans does not feed the cattle and pushes farmers into further debt. It is time to strike a balance between conservation and development. Rural communities can thrive if they are given opportunities for economic development and are not burdened by unnecessary red tape. In the meantime I will continue to work with the Cairns Chamber of Commerce and the Papua New Guinean government on a proposal that will see Queensland cattle exported to Papua New Guinea to help with their national herd shortage. This is a project which has gained incredible momentum and I am proud to be part of this practical solution— (Time expired)

8:48 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to support this motion and to oppose any moves that seek to remove protections that were put in place to protect biodiversity and the environment in Australia. In my home state of South Australia we are fortunate to have a state government that is committed to protecting South Australia's beautiful natural environment. For those of you who have had the pleasure of going to Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty or anywhere in between, you will know why all South Australians have a special interest in protecting our biodiversity and especially our natural flora and fauna. In fact, the state government, in order to protect Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, recently blocked a mining project at Arkaroola because it saw the benefit in this wonderful environmentally beautiful place.

Too often we have seen other state governments treat the environment as an afterthought and only care about exploiting our natural environment. Liberal-National state governments have introduced cattle grazing in conservation parks. They think that logging is acceptable in our endangered rainforests and believe there should be almost no restrictions on where a mine can be placed. Only three days ago I got an email from Mr Elliott, a constituent in my electorate of Hindmarsh, who said:

I have never written to the local member of parliament before. Do press the issue of protecting our national parks in whatever way you can. It is not looking flash after developments in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland and this is decidedly worrying.

You know, Mr Deputy Speaker, the community is right to be concerned that the precious places that we all enjoy and take for granted are under threat.

At a federal government level there are two possible futures for Australia's national parks. The LNP plan to disregard our national parks and wreck them for future generations of Australians, just as their state colleagues are doing. The Labor plan is to continue to protect these places for the future. The CSIRO in a recent report titled Queensland's biodiversity under climate change: impacts and adoption made it absolutely clear that there are big threats to Queensland's biodiversity under the current state government directions and possibly the biggest threat to biodiversity and endangered species is that of climate change. That is why this government made the very tough and courageous decision to put a price on carbon, because we do not want to leave future generations of Australia with a barren wasteland

That is what will happen if we do not take action on climate change. I want our children and our grandchildren to enjoy the natural beauty that I have been able to enjoy here in Australia and every corner that this great land—and it is a great land, a wonderful land—has to offer us.

On a very positive note, only recently the World Heritage Committee recognised the Australian government's progress in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. They made particular mention of the $200 million injected into the next stage of the Reef Rescue Program. This is on top of the Australian government acting to protect our oceans by delivering the world's largest network of marine reserves. We need to protect our natural environment and make the tough decisions to keep our biodiversity strong.

8:52 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On the eighth day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, 'I need a caretaker.' So God made a farmer. This motion, moved by the member for Makin, is about caretakers, conservation and ensuring our beautiful and productive landscape is preserved for future generations. There is no argument about that.

In reflecting upon the intent of this motion, I was reminded of a speech given by the conservative American radio announcer Paul Harvey at the Future Farmers of America Convention in 1978 entitled 'So God made a farmer.' Members might remember this speech because, though decades old, it was the theme of a Dodge car commercial during this year's Superbowl in the United States. The theme of this speech is remarkable and that is why I am quoting it during the debate tonight. Paul Harvey is right: farmers are the original environmentalists; farming is an exercise in conservation. No-one understands more than a farmer how imperative it is to treat the land in a manner which ensures a harvest be sought the following year. Yet this motion fails to recognise the significant contribution farmers make to conservation efforts every year—a further sign that there is just not the level of understanding necessary of how much farmers value their land. It is their biggest asset. Ensuring it is cared for and tended to will help a farmer with the following year's harvest. Yet debate in this place paints farmers as land-destroying environmental vandals. You will hear those opposite put down farmers and make the continued assumption that farming is a non-environmentally-friendly exercise.

Tonight during debate on this particular motion we heard from inner city suburban Labor members. I do not know where the regional Labor members are on this particular motion. It really is a typical stunt by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities—he represents a southern Sydney suburban area—the same minister who has stripped money away from Landcare funding. Labor can argue all they like but, whilst he is taking money away from them in the forward estimates, the Landcare volunteers are out there, helping to protect the environment and our land. We just heard from the member for Hindmarsh talking about every corner of Australia. If Labor had their way, being pulled by the nose by the member for Melbourne, every corner of Australia would indeed be locked up so that parts of my region—

Mr Wilkie interjecting

I hear 'Hear, hear' from the member for Denison. He also thinks that every corner should be locked up. Maybe I am doing him a disservice there, but certainly in parts of my area national parks have been locked up so that pests and weeds, and feral animals can just take over. That is what is happening and, unfortunately, for people who were working on cattle stations and farming properties, their areas have been locked up, supposedly, for future generations. Unfortunately, as I say, these areas are now no-go zones. We heard the member for La Trobe talking about prospecting. Fair dinkum! If it were up to that side, we would never have discovered any of the resources that have blessed our nation with wonderful wealth.

We heard from the member for Leichhardt, talking about the live cattle export fiasco and how some of the national parks in Queensland were former cattle stations. Surely, it just makes common sense to allow those cattle, which are too heavy and too old to be now sent for export, to graze on those areas which were once cattle stations and which are now locked up. It just makes sense and it is the humane thing to do.

I heard the member for Kennedy say 'Hear, hear' when the member for Leichhardt suggested that. He knows, as well as anybody on this side and as anybody with any common sense, that that would be a good policy so that we can help those cattle farmers and the cattle.

We heard the previous speaker, the member for Hindmarsh, talking about logging. If it were up to that side of politics, they would probably stop all logging. Most of the logging is done very conservatively. I note that, in the Tumut shire, 70 per cent of that shire's income comes from logging. If it were up to that side of parliament, that would all stop. That valuable industry, which provides so much wealth and prosperity for a regional community such as Tumut, would indeed be stopped.

This motion is ridiculous. All the speakers from inner city areas are too citycentric and are not focused at all on regional Australia. This is a ridiculous debate and should not even be happening. (Time expired)

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)

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.