The Katter’s Australian Party has expressed concerns over the potential shut down of fishing, farming, and coal mining industries in the Great Barrier Reef and Gulf catchments by 2027. The party asserts that Labor Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is planning to appease international elites by implementing strict water quality, fisheries, and climate change measures. These assertions were made in response to a leaked letter from Plibersek to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, outlining the government’s plans.
According to the letter, the Commonwealth Government is working closely with the World Heritage Centre to meet UNESCO’s expectations and the recommendations of the Mission report. The proposed measures include mapping grazing land for gully repairs, enforcing landholder compliance with reef protection standards, strengthening protection of conservation areas, and implementing programs to reduce sediment, nutrient, and pesticide levels in water.
Additionally, the letter outlines plans to restructure access to fisheries, including establishing net-free zones in certain areas, finalizing harvest strategies, and phasing out gillnet fisheries. The government also aims to achieve ambitious emissions reduction targets and increase renewable electricity generation.
The Katter’s Australian Party leaders, Robbie Katter and Bob Katter, have criticized Labor for compromising national sovereignty and giving power to an international body that does not have to bear the consequences of its decisions. They argue that the Queensland farming and fishing communities are being sacrificed to “save the reef,” despite the reef boasting record-high coral cover in recent years.
Bob Katter has tabled the letter in Parliament and called on Plibersek to explain its authenticity and motives. He also raised concerns about the influence of an unelected international body over Australian land ownership. The party argues that the agreements with UNESCO undermine the rights of Australian landowners and threaten industries that are crucial to the economy.
Nick Dametto, the Deputy Leader of the Katter’s Australian Party, accused the Federal Environment Minister of selling out Australia and called for her to be tried for treason. He questioned the government’s authority to make decisions based on UNESCO’s demands, without consulting the Australian people.
Shane Knuth, another Katter’s Australian Party member, expressed his disappointment over the betrayal of North Queensland’s fishing, agriculture, and mining industries. He accused the state and federal governments of attacking these industries while promising to support them publicly.
The party believes that the only way to save regional Queensland is for the Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation to merge and form a new conservative party. They argue that holding the balance of power is not enough to protect Queensland industries from Labor’s adherence to UN policies.
It is important to note that there have been differing opinions on the state of the Great Barrier Reef. While some experts, including reef researcher Professor Peter Ridd, argue that there is nothing wrong with the reef, others maintain that it is under threat from climate change and human activity.