August 14, 2020
LNP Member for Callide Colin Boyce voted against his party on a major piece of environmental legislation this week.
Mr Boyce, whose electorate stretches to the Bunya Mountains, crossed the floor on Tuesday to vote against the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
Other LNP members, including Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, voted for the Bill despite MP David Crisafulli admitting the party would “dearly have loved more time” to debate the legislation.
The Bill allows for an appointment of a Commissioner who will provide advice on mine rehabilitation and best practice for management of land.
Mr Boyce voted alongside MPs from Katter’s Australian Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and North Queensland First against the legislation.
“I oppose this Bill in its entirety,” Mr Boyce told State Parliament.
“I do this on behalf of the mining and resource industries, the grazing and farming industries and everybody associated with them.
“The Callide electorate in this COVID-19 era is the economic engine room of Queensland. We produce the food you eat. We grow the fibre to put clothes on your back. We supply the materials you build your homes with. We generate the power that your affluent city lifestyles use.
“We provide jobs for countless thousands. We provide the revenue that pays public service wages. I will not see this capability compromised.
“The proposal to install a Rehabilitation Commissioner seems logical and reasonable on face value.
“The virtue-signalling, urban environmentalist would agree with it. However, when you dig down into the substance of this proposal its intent is entirely different.
“The mining and resource sector already implements and practices world’s best rehabilitation and environmental standards that are second to none. To overlay another level of bureaucracy is totally unwarranted, as Mr Ian Macfarlane from the Queensland Resource Council has pointed out.”
Mr Boyce objected to the fact the Commissioner would take directions from the Minister.
“It affords the Minister, especially someone who may well be given to extremes of ideology, an opportunity to effectively weaponise any and all directions that are given to the Rehabilitation Commissioner. Effectively, a Rehabilitation Commissioner may become a political hitman for a government of the day.
“This is especially relevant where the current government is captive of a Cabinet with ideological and political leanings overwhelmingly favouring extreme green eco-Marxist ideology and, by default, a stand of anti-agriculture, anti-resources, anti-development and, therefore, anti-employment and, so, anti-prosperity.
“Queensland suffers from a bloated and somewhat inefficient Public Service. The Labor Government wants to create another department.
“The Rehabilitation Commissioner will not be a standalone independent position, rather it will become driven by ideological politics and bigoted environmental opinion.”
Mr Boyce said it was “appalling” that agriculture had been “attached” to the Bill.
“The report notes the Bill will align application requirements for an environmental authority for cropping and horticulture activities with matters to be considered when making a decision to grant an environmental authority,” he said.
“Put simply, farmers will now face the prospect of having to lodge applications to a government department to plant their crops. This is disgraceful. Farmers will be reduced to a tick-the-box State Government department system of yes or no.
“For AgForce and Queensland Farmers’ Federation to support this Bill defies logic. In my opinion, they are either complicit or showed wilful negligence when examining this Bill.
“It is little wonder their membership has failed.
“On behalf of the Callide farmers, graziers and miners I do not support this Bill.”