Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts. Pic Peter Wallis
Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts. Pic Peter Wallis

‘Flawed’ policy could be costing us millions: Senator

UPDATE, 6.15PM: Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries has responded to claims from One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts that the State Government's climate change policy is flawed.

"Ignoring science is dumb. Re-writing it to agree with you is ridiculous," he said.

EARLIER: Flawed climate change policy could be costing the Fraser Coast millions of dollars, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts fears.

He was in Maryborough on Monday to talk about his concerns regarding climate change policy in Australia and in particular its impact on industries such as cane farming, timber and manufacturing.

Maryborough One Nation candidate Sharon Lohse was also at the press conference.

Senator Roberts was calling for an Office of Scientific Integrity to "protect scientists from politicisation, and give all industry players the confidence that the policy is warranted and just".

Dr Peter Ridd was also on hand to talk about his concerns regarding what he believes is misinformation regarding climate change.

In particular, the impact of canefarming on the Fraser Coast on the Great Barrier Reef had been the topic of much discussion.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts with Dr Peter Ridd and Mr Curly Tatnell from DTM Timber.
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts with Dr Peter Ridd and Mr Curly Tatnell from DTM Timber.

According to Dr Ridd, farming in the region would have no impact on the reef at all.

His comments come as a Senate inquiry into controversial reef reforms has heard the impact of farming pesticides on the Great Barrier Reef was a 'drop in the bucket' compared to other threats.

The inquiry focused primarily on the impact of the State Government's reef regulations on farmers and of farming pesticides in water run off on the reef.

Fraser Coast canegrowers had campaigned against the reforms, which they say unfairly punish an industry which has already taken significant steps to reduce impact on the environment.

Dr Ridd said pesticides were in such low concentrations on the reef they were barely worth recording.

Senator Roberts said the issue of climate change had always been politicised.

"Australia's climate policies are a stunning example of policy determining the scientific evidence, rather than science informing policy," Senator Roberts said.

He said the current policy was insulting to farmers, who had a vested interest in sustainability and maintaining the environment.

Curly Tatnell of DTM Timber said the State Government's current forestry policy was hurting, not helping the environment.

He said the uncertainty was also leading to less investment and fewer jobs in the timber industry.

"The hardwood timber industry has for decades suffered with the uncertainty of long-term future log supply for harvesting," Mr Tatnell said.

"The ripple effect is a low capital expenditure on machinery and technology upgrades, low investment in apprenticeships, and a reluctance to invest in research and development to remain competitive.

"Our struggling regional towns need certainty around the hardwood industry policy stance, so we have a future for our kids."

The State Government has been contacted for comment.