Debate on weed management should be brought forward as a matter of urgency.

Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, has called on the State Government to resume discussing the bi-partisan Parliamentary report into the impact of invasive weeds.

Last week the Government claimed its agenda was full and cancelled any further debate on the Inquiry into the impacts of invasive plants (weeds) and their control in Queensland. * “It’s ignorance at best and contempt at worst,” Mr Perrett said.

“It was a slap in the face for every Gympie landowner who’s been battling to control invasive weeds such as giant rat’s tail grass (GRT).

“There’s not a property which is not affected and it’s making some rural properties unviable.

“A report to Gympie Region Council in June last year said GRT was responsible for more than half the Biosecurity Orders sent to landowners in the first half of 2019.

“We are losing the ‘war on weeds.’

“The Government’s agenda is now freed up with the postponement of its anti-free speech media gag laws so there’s no excuse not to continue.

“If this issue is not brought forward, it will show up the Government’s superficial commitment to weed management and is more obsessed with playing cynical political games.

“The decision to cancel debate was opposed by the LNP and rammed through by the Labor Government.

“The Minister supported it.

“The Minister won’t back landowners and resorts to tricky technical excuses and petty debating points more suited to a meeting of green activists.

“They’ve tried every trick in the book to stop discussion because they don’t want to hear about the Government’s weed management record.

“The report was politically sanitised without any substantive recommendation, tabled two weeks before last Christmas, and has sat for nine months without debate.

“The Labor dominated committee’s only recommendation was to note the report stating “……control programs for weeds on Crown land are effective. Queensland biosecurity programs are also effective and financed appropriately.”

“Everyone knows the situation is deteriorating and becoming harder to control.

“It’s taken four years of hearings, cost to the taxpayer to send people all over the state, landholders fronting up at their own cost and time, 60 submissions, and testimony from six public hearings to conclude nothing needs to be done.

“In 2016, I secured support for a bipartisan inquiry on the effectiveness of weed control programs, and the work of different agencies.

“That inquiry lapsed in late 2017, its report not published, and the new Labor dominated committee deferred consideration of re-establishing an inquiry.

“The Minister hid behind technicalities about why he wouldn’t encourage his Labor colleagues to revisit it.

“We’re expected to believe that both the Labor committee chair and Minister didn’t discuss it.

“Two days after that outburst I decided if the Minister wouldn’t do it, I would try and wrote to the committee requesting it finalise the inquiry.

“When it was reinstated it took another eight months to finalise a report which was already substantially done.

“The Government plays sneaky games and is running from its record.

“Last year the Minister matched the $5 million federal government’s commitment to tackle the spread of prickly acacia and then pulled it when the Labor Party didn’t win the Federal election.

“Invasive weeds are one of our most pervasive environmental and agricultural problems.

“Tackling them should always be a non-partisan issue.

“The impact of weeds on agriculture, through the direct costs of weed control, yield reduction, and contamination of agricultural products as well as nature conservation, tourism, and landscape amenity are rife,” he said.