BAD SCIENCE: Dr Peter Ridd says the studies undertaken on the reef are not trustworthy.
BAD SCIENCE: Dr Peter Ridd says the studies undertaken on the reef are not trustworthy. Toni Benson-Rogan

Science behind reef reforms called into question

THE long-standing debate over the science used to justify proposed farming reforms to protect the Great Barrier Reef has been reignited.

Controversial scientist Doctor Peter Ridd addressed about 300 people at Bundaberg's Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Monday night, where he kicked off his speaking tour to raise concerns about the validity of the science used for the government reforms.

In an opinion piece published in the NewsMail, the geophysicist said the state government was facing "another Adani-like debacle" with its Great Barrier Reef protection legislation, set to go before Parliament this month.

"This legislation will drastically affect sugarcane, cattle and every major agricultural industry along the Queensland coast. Fertiliser and pesticide application will be restricted, massive fines will be applied for transgressions and a huge bureaucratic burden will be imposed on farmers. For them it will be like having a government official continuously sitting in the tractor next to them," he wrote.

"As with Adani, much of the science behind this legislation is poorly quality-assured and unreliable."

However Dr Ridd's tour, supported by Canegrowers Queensland, has been labelled as "misinformation" by both the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Australian Coral Reef Society.

This comes as Canegrowers launches an advertising campaign against the State Government's reef protection bill.

AMCS spokesperson Shani Tager said Australia's top coral reef scientists couldn't be clearer.

"Our Reef needs serious, urgent action on water quality to give it the best chance of a healthy future," she said.

"The Canegrowers speaking tour is simply spreading misinformation. It is time to respect the science."