Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Labor Division on Tree Clearing; Mackay Branch President Says Law Will Turn Voters

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Labor Division on Tree Clearing; Mackay Branch President Says Law Will Turn Voters

Article excerpt

THE Palaszczuk Government's planned land clearing laws could spark a backlash against Labor in regional areas, according to a senior party member.

Labor's Mackay branch president Ryan Casey took to Facebook Tuesday night to vent his frustration with the legislation, which is set to pass Parliament this week.

In the post, Mr Casey described the laws as a "lefty greenie vote grab" and warned it would turn farming communities against the Labor Party.

"Farmers deserve to do what they see fit to their land to ensure they can provide for their families and our nation," the post read.

Mr Casey said the laws went too far and did not take account of the needs of farmers.

"Yes, there certainly needs to be some restriction and oversight as to what is done or what comes off the land in regards to protecting the reef and runoff and vegetation plays an important part in that," he said.

"But I think this whole process... the consultation being purely based on science alone rather than actually putting feet on the ground, the mapping is crazy. I think there needs to be some sort of protection for land that is already being farmed.

"Mackay is the city that it is today due to the hard work of many in the cane fields surrounding our fair city."

Mr Casey said he believed the laws would have a "major impact" on Labor's chances at the looming Federal election and the next State election.

The comments are the first sign of dissent within Labor over the laws, which wind back the LNP's loosening of tree clearing regulations.

LNP Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said Mr Casey's great uncle, Ed Casey, "would be turning in his grave" over the proposed vegetation management laws and took his hat off to Ryan for speaking out against the laws.

"Even though we did not agree on the politics, there was a lot of common ground and a lot of people in the agricultural sector and the farming community had enormous respect for the late Edmund Casey," he said. …

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