Barnaby Joyce is misleading farmers by claiming the Abbott Government's proposed changes will not affect their ability to appeal against extractive industry project approvals.

The agriculture sector was shocked yesterday to learn it is the Government's intention to remove all third party appeals under the EPBC Act.

If the repeal of Section 487 is successful, the only path to appeal farmers could possibly have is under common law.  Any such action would expose them to the risk of very significant adverse cost orders.

Barnaby Joyce had been assuring farmer groups that only one part of Section 487 would be repealed. 

He was either wrong or he was intentionally misleading them as we learned through leaked confidential speaking notes, circulated to government MPs on Wednesday that MPs were to say, if asked that “government intended to repeal only section 487(2) of the act and Brandis made the same claim on Wednesday in the Senate. 

In any case, the repeal of any part of the Section would have had adverse consequences for farmers, which Barnaby Joyce has now officially deserted.

This whole debacle is no more than an attempt to distract from the chaotic state of the Government and puts Tony Abbott's own political interest ahead of the interest of the agriculture sector.


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