Farmers’ body deletes data over reef laws
AGFORCE has deleted members' data for fear the State Government could misuse it following the introduction of new Great Barrier Reef protection laws.
The industry body last night "moved quickly" to delete the data acquired through the Best Management Practice programs, which more than 3000 farmers were apart of.
CEO Michael Guerin claimed there was a risk the Government may use member's data "for purposes for which it was not provided" - like determining compliance for new Reef regulations.
"Given our commitment to BMP participants to protect their information, we have been left with no choice but to permanently remove this data," he said.
The BMP programs were developed to help producers implement best practice and improve their productivity and sustainability.
"The inevitable consequence is that the BMP programs, which have done so much to improve the sustainability of grazing and grain production over the past decade, and seen Queensland agriculture become a world leader, are effectively over in their current form," Mr Guerin said.
As part of the Bill, introduced in February, data could be acquired from the agricultural sector for various reasons.
"This is a heartbreaking outcome, because protecting the Reef, one of our international icons, and preserving the natural environment is a primary concern of agriculture," the CEO said.
"However, AgForce is now working on a strategy to implement an even more effective program to improve environmental outcomes, like reducing erosion and run-off, sequestering carbon, conserving soil moisture and increasing biodiversity.
"Our 'Natural Capital' program will form the basis of a scheme to incentivise producers to provide environmental outcomes far above and beyond those that would have been achieved by the Government's punitive legislation."
AgForce, along with other industry bodies, strenuously opposed the Bill.
The Parliamentary Committee tasked with reviewing the laws last week recommended they be passed.