New Labor laws aim to slow the rate of vegetation clearance in Queensland.
New Labor laws aim to slow the rate of vegetation clearance in Queensland. Nicholas Falconer

Noosa MP Glen Elmes won't back laws to stop tree clearing

IF the Greens thought they could find a vegetation clearing legislation ally in LNP Member for Noosa Glen Elmes they are barking up the wrong tree.

Mr Elmes was having none of calls from Noosa Greens spokesman Joe Shlegeris' for Mr Elmes to use the power of his vote in a tight parliament to help get over the line Palaszczuk Government legislation which seeks to rein in the escalation of vegetation clearance which has occurred since the former LNP Newman administration changed the rules.

"The Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes, can choose to assure the protection of native forest in Queensland and the continuing survival of the Great Barrier Reef,'' Mr Shlegeris said.

"Or he can choose continuing destruction. Queensland's government knows the urgency of passing the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. 

"This legislation will help control the open-slather tree clearing unleashed by Campbell Newman. This free-for-all has seen the rate of clearing in Queensland climb to catastrophic levels.

"Rampant tree clearing causes direct damage to the Great Barrier Reef, to the 69,000 Queensland jobs which depend directly on a healthy Reef, and to the $6 billion the Reef contributes to the Queensland economy each year."

Mr Elmes dismissed claims by Mr Shlegeris the Noosa electorate would overwhelmingly be in support of the proposed legislation.

"I've received 22 emails on the subject and have 34,000 people in the electorate,'' he said.

"If he's trying to suggest I should cross the floor and be seen to side with Labor to be allied with the silly Green movement or the silly Green party then he is sadly mistaken.''

Mr Elmes held the seat of Noosa in 2015 with 58.62% of the vote to Mr Shlegeris' 41.38%.

"There is clearing going on every day of the week and it's been going on for a long, long time,'' he said.

"Mad Joe and his troika of mates use this to stir up trouble. He's anxious for an early election and to get into the fight. I wish him luck."

Mr Elmes said vegetation laws had to allow for the $13.5 billion agricultural sector in Queensland to "grow and prosper".

He said he would continue to work within his party's structure and accused Labor of running the legislation as a ploy to garner Green preferences in the south east corner ahead of the next election.

"It's a furphy."

Mr Shlegeris saud it was his belief the Noosa community supported overwhelmingly the sensible protection of native forest and control over farm runoff and silt flowing on to the Great Barrier Reef.

"The hung parliament means that Glen Elmes can, by himself, ensure that this legislation will pass,'' he said. "All he has to do is vote for it.

"Glen Elmes can say what he likes, but his action will shout the truth.

"If Glen Elmes meekly accepts orders from his LNP superiors he will be sealing the fate of the Great Barrier Reef. He will be personally responsible for the result. Does he have the courage to do the right thing?"

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