8th October 2005
Another bomb shell was dropped on the Qld State Government during the regional sitting of Parliament in Rockhampton this week.
The attack did not come from across the floor from the Qld Opposition but indeed from outside the makeshift state parliament altogether.
As 300 vocal rural and regional landholders converged on the Rockhampton parliament protesting the governments Vegetation Management and Water regulations another claim of dishonestly and diliberate cover up was levelled at the government.
Already ailing under the current health, electricity, main roads, asbestos and fire ants crisis, the government was again accused of misleading the public and destroying evidence relating to public servant inquiries into the now infamous Vegetation Management Act.
It was claimed by former Department of Primary Industries employee and world recognised woodland ecologist, Dr Bill Burrows that the Qld state government directed him to destroy and conceal damaging material regarding the economic and environmental impacts of the Vegetation Management Act.
‘I was told to detroy all evidence of my findings, erase my hard drive and directed not to release any supporting material ‘ Dr Burrows said.
Dr Burrows was commissioned by the DPI to do a cost-beneifit analysis of the proposed vegetation regulations in 2001.
The report claimed that the economic impact to landholders and local communities would total $900 million in the first year alone and $287 million would be lost from landholders directly.
The state government has offered a miserly $130 million in structural adjustment grants despite the findings.
‘When I told the government something they did not want to hear, they gagged me’
Dr Burrows, with 40 years experience in woodland ecology, delivered a damning critique of the state governments draconian regulations.
‘It is my opinion that the VMA, is at best, based on very selective science and at worst, the framing of the regualtions deliberately and capriciously ignored a large body of scientific research and economic data relevant to the management of vegetation on our grazing lands’ he said
It is expected that the State Opposition will push for a full inquiry into the allegations.
Opposition Leader Laurence Springborg stated at the rally ‘ it has happened in health, it has happened on our roads and now it is happening in grazed woodlands’
‘The lies and deceit has to stop. Mr Beattie must be held accountable.