Wednesday, 11 September 2019
New South Wales: Land Clearing
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the New South Wales Liberal-National Government has granted amnesty to hundreds of farmers who cleared land illegally before the disastrous new land clearing laws came into effect; figures show land clearing rates more than doubled in the year prior to the introduction of new laws and tripled in the year after,
(ii) the decision comes after big cotton farms used their influence on the NSW Minister for Energy and Environment and the Minister for Agriculture to lobby for prosecutions to be dropped,
(iii) the decision contradicts earlier assurances given by the NSW Government,
(iv) the community is deeply opposed to the decision, and
(v) large-scale land clearing has turned Australia into a global deforestation hotspot and is exacerbating the climate emergency;
(b) condemns the NSW Government for their decision to grant amnesty to farmers who cleared land illegally; and
(c) calls on the NSW Government to reverse this decision.
This motion contains a number of unsubstantiated claims. While the New South Wales government direction on land clearing is deeply concerning, this motion is not an appropriate response. The Senate calling for the prosecution of farmers is not an appropriate response to the failure of the New South Wales government to provide leadership, certainty and appropriate protection and enforcement. The federal government should provide leadership to protect the interests of the environment and our farming communities in a time of drought, but instead they're asleep at the wheel of water policy and environmental protection.
I will explain again what I understand the agreement has been, which is that statements are made by those called to vote upon motions, but the mover of the motion does not make a statement. That is the understanding I have been led to believe has been reached.
The question is that motion No. 112 standing in the name of Senator Faruqi be agreed to.