Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne
Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne Chris Ison

Calls to 'park the politics' in primary industry

QUEENSLAND'S new Agriculture Minister has called for politics to be taken out of primary industry policy and suggested Labor may keep parts of the LNP's vegetation-clearing laws.

Speaking at a Rural Press Club lunch in the Brisbane Tattersall's Club, Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne said he had spoken privately to Federal counterpart Barnaby Joyce suggesting they "park the politics".

In a wide-ranging speech and question-and-answer session, Mr Byrne said he stood by the live cattle export industry, called for evidence-based policies and suggested the Labor government would not be completely removing the former government's vegetation-clearing laws.

Mr Byrne said a working committee with several ministers looking at changing vegetation-clearing laws had been formed and was involved in a "vibrant discussions."

"I believe there are grounds to sustain some of those changes," he said.

"I think what we're entering into is a government that will potentially produce a more sensible approach to the entire problem.

"I can assure you that we'll be making sure that any impacts are minimised to the maximum degree necessary."

However, LNP shadow Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said the government was "trying to have two bob each way" with some ministers supporting a return to the previous Labor government's vegetation laws, while Mr Byrne suggesting keeping elements of the LNP's policies.

"It's long overdue for the Labor Party to be more honest with rural Queenslanders about vegetation-clearing policy," he said.

"In opposition you saw the former shadow minister Jo-Ann Miller and the now Deputy Premier Jackie Trad speaking about repealing the changes the LNP made in 2013.

"While about a fortnight ago Anthony Lynham releases a holding pattern media release on vegetation clearing, and today minister Byrne has said he'd like to keep the laws. They are trying to have two bob each way."

Mr Byrne said Labor, as a minority government, was not in a position to "dictate" to other parties.

"So in order to have any substantive changes in legislation there will be an overwhelming need to get consensus," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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