The Queensland Liberal National Party has called on the Federal Government to suspend all peanut imports from Argentina pending an immediate review of all associated risks following an outbreak of smut disease.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Dale Last said peanut smut was widespread across Argentinian growing areas and imports of raw and unshelled nuts posed an unaccepted risk to the state’s peanut industry near Kingaroy.
“Pending the outcome, the review could facilitate resumption of imports of lower risk processed peanuts,” Mr Last said
“The last thing Queensland agriculture needs is another exotic disease or pest. If there’s any level of risk then imports must stop.”
LNP Deputy Leader and Nanango MP Deb Frecklington said the big danger was that if smut became established there was no way it could be eradicated.
“It is a disease that causes big production losses of up to 20 per cent and more, and once land becomes infected it has to be taken out of production,” Ms Frecklington said.
“We need to keep our peanut industry smut-free.”
Mr Last said it was time to shut the door on any new biosecurity risk given the recent devastation of southern Queensland prawn farms by white spot disease, Panama disease in bananas in North Queensland and the on-going spread of Asian honey bees – carriers of the highly-destructive Verroa mites that could wipe out the local honey industry.
Ms Frecklington said Kingaroy growers were not impressed with comments from Canberra bureaucrats about “risk-based biosecurity” and the government’s ability to respond to “new and emerging international pest and disease threats.”
“Until there can be an iron-clad guarantee from Canberra that there is no risk from bringing smut in from Argentina, then imports should cease,” Ms Frecklington said.
Photo: Deb with local South Burnett peanut farmer, Mark Young
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is trying to rewrite history after being caught out on their sneaky plan to slug Queenslanders with higher taxes and charges to fund Cross River Rail.
LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Deb Frecklington said Deputy Premier Jackie Trad should have a long hard look in the mirror if she wanted to blame someone for the Cross River Rail debacle.
She said the Deputy Premier’s claim on ABC Radio this morning that the Federal Government wanted to slug Queenslanders with higher taxes was rank hypocrisy.
“It was Labor’s secret business case that revealed Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad’s plan to slug Queenslanders with six new taxes to fund their pipe dream,” Ms Frecklington said.
“They are now in damage control because it has come to light that the business case doesn’t stack up and both are looking to blame someone else for their own incompetence and failings.
“The Premier and Deputy Premier have gone to great lengths to conceal their six secret taxes plan but the cat is well and truly out of the bag now.
“Jackie Trad needs take responsibility for what is contained in the business case that she submitted to Infrastructure Australia instead of trying to blame the Prime Minister.
“Infrastructure Australia took the extraordinary step today of issuing a statement confirming there were a number of outstanding concerns surrounding the Cross River Rail business case.”
Ms Frecklington said Labor had bungled the Cross River Rail project from the beginning and now their incompetence had been laid bare for all Queenslanders to see.
“Labor has no real plan to deliver this project, the business case is an utter mess, the six secret taxes to fund the project have been exposed and deadlines have been missed,” she said.
“The LNP opposed Labor setting up the Delivery Authority which has virtually unfettered taxation powers designed to implement their secret taxes agenda.
“Jackie Trad has had more than two years to get her pet project off the ground but she has failed dismally at every hurdle.”
Ms Frecklington said Annastacia Palaszczuk embarrassingly had to concede this week the business case for Cross River Rail was flawed.
“Annastacia Palszczuk said in 2013 that this project was shovel ready,” she said.
“We now know that was a big fat furphy.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad’s total lack of openness and transparency on Cross River Rail has been exposed.
“If they maintain they have got nothing to hide, just release the secret business case so Queenslanders can make up their own minds.
“How can Queenslanders trust the Premier or Deputy Premier when they continue to hide the business case from public scrutiny?”
Labor’s hidden business case includes the following new taxes to fund Cross River Rail: