Friday 9 October 2020

AgForce has described the report by the Senate Inquiry into evidence-based Reef regulations as ‘incontrovertible proof’ that current legislation is political, ideological, and expedient – but in no way scientific.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the report – and its insipid recommendations – underlined the urgent need for an expert and truly independent Office of Scientific Review to ensure research, analysis and conclusions underlying Reef protection legislation was valid and effective.

“We know that the Reef regulations and standards implemented by the Queensland Government will decimate agriculture and the many families, communities, and industries reliant on primary production,” Mr Guerin said.

“We also know that the science and models they are based on has not been peer-reviewed by the broader scientific community – or quality assured, as we say in our industry.

“We know there is still a big chunk of relevant scientific knowledge missing. Reef science needs experts in the tent who understand ocean currents and the long-term geography of coral reef formations.

“The report handed down yesterday by the Senate inquiry – dominated by Labor and Green Senators – basically supported the current ideological stance on Reef issues and failed to address the many major issues.

“Its recommendations do not address concerns about lack of trust in Reef science and the unnecessary red tape imposed on Reef farmers that doesn’t achieve Reef health outcomes.”

AgForce is calling for the urgent establishment of an independent Office of Scientific Review that is not beholden to political or environmental ideology and has the expertise to ensure the science underpinning these state-imposed regulations is valid.

“Our previous requests for such a body have been roundly ignored,” Mr Guerin said.

“What do they have to hide? It appears that the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and universities – not the Great Barrier Reef – are what’s being protected by the politicians.

“The ‘dissenting report’ issued by the LNP Senators and comments by One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts demonstrate their understanding of, and actually addresses the issues, faced by farmers and regional communities.

“Unfortunately, the official report by the politically-constructed panel doesn’t do this and is therefore a complete waste of time and public money.

“But the most significant and disappointing failure of the Senate inquiry is not that it fails to take into account the future of the State’s $12 billion agriculture industry and communities, but that it fails to consider the major negative impacts on the Reef itself.

“Binding farmers up in unnecessary actions on land and record-keeping does not address the major issues of increasing ocean temperatures and coral predation.”

Media clips of AgForce CEO Michael Guerin available at


Media contact: David Vogler 0418 733 102