The LNP Opposition has accused Environment Minister Vicky Darling of shamelessly trying to pass off an announcement about protecting turtles and dugongs as new policy – when it was a recycled announcement.
“This is the same announcement that Federal Minister for Environment Tony Burke and Ms Darling made on September 8, 2011,” Shadow Minister for Environment Andrew Powell said.
Mr Powell said that announcement blatantly copied parts of LNP announcements, but still fell short as they contained less additional Indigenous rangers than the LNP’s policy. Minister Darling also failed to commit to amending the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 to prevent individuals abusing traditional hunting rights by subjecting dugong and turtles to cruel, prolonged deaths.
“This is a cynical rehash: this money is Federal government funding and the details aren’t even finalised. What has Ms Darling been doing since September 8 when this was first announced? Widespread reports show that dugong and turtles are in trouble now, there isn’t any time to waste,” Mr Powell said.
“This tired 20 year old Labor government is now scratching around in recycling bins trying to find policies and announcements as the election looms.
“The problem facing the Bligh government is that it can’t face voters on its appalling record of mismanagement across all departments.
“In contrast, the LNP’s commitment to protect dugongs and turtles will be in addition to any Federal funding. We have detailed a solid, sensible plan.
“A CanDo LNP Government will employ 30 additional Indigenous rangers during its first term. These rangers will be focused on protecting pristine waterways, protected species and implementing bioregion management plans to achieve conservation outcomes.
“It will also crack down on poachers and bring Queensland into line with other states and territories by getting rid of the current exemption for traditional hunters by making it illegal for anyone to wound, mutilate or torture an animal.
“We’ll enforce this with penalties of up to two years jail or a $100,000 fine.”
Mr Powell said many indigenous communities already have self-imposed moratoriums or regulate hunting with licences and permits and the LNP plans to work with indigenous rangers and leaders to implement this commonsense approach across other communities. “A CanDo LNP Government will work with indigenous and local communities to protect and preserve our precious dugong and turtle populations for all Queenslanders.
“It’s time to get Queensland back on track.”