Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon has challenged the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to come clean and speak on the Bill currently before Parliament which amends the Environmental Planning and Biodiversity Act to remove third party appeal rights against decisions under the Act.
Speaking on the Bill today, Mr Fitzgibbon noted that Minister Joyce has spoken in the Second Reading debate on many Bills, including a water bill only last night, and must speak on the EPBC amendment and explain his reasons for supporting it.
Mr Fitzgibbon said that on the eve of the introduction of the Bill, Minister Joyce was assuring farm stakeholders that only part of the section of the Act which provides for third party appeals would be repealed. Yet the next morning a Bill was introduced repealing the whole section.
This, Mr Fitzgibbon has argued, will either deny farmers the right to appeal against mining project decisions or leave them facing the risk of punitive cost orders if they are able to establish standing.
“Barnaby Joyce must speak on the Bill and explain himself to the Australian farming community, including those in his own electorate who are concerned about the Abbott Government’s handling of the Shenhua coal mine project on the Liverpool Plains”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.