|Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham|
The Greens NSW agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said the National Party had raised the white flag of surrender as it was revealed the government has deliberately dropped at least seven species from the pest list in the new biosecurity legislation, including one of the world’s top 100 pests, the African big-headed ant, without any explanation. He called for the legislation to be withdrawn until after the election.
Last week it was revealed the government had bungled the rushed bill leaving off 31 species accidently. Now the government has moved an amendment to the bill to remove the African big-headed ant, and a further six species have been left off without explanation including: potato smut, bacterial wilt, eastern subterranean termite, European pine shoot moth, wheat aphid, and sequoia pitch moth.
“The National Party have raised the white flag of surrender on biosecurity, reducing protections for the environment and agriculture, while doing so behind closed doors and without explanation,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“I have contacted the minister’s office and they have been unable to give an explanation as to why these pests have been delisted. It indicates just how ad hoc and rushed this legislation is.
“The Minister needs to come clean on exactly which pests are staying in the bill, which pests have been dropped and why, and exactly who has been consulted?
“The government is rushing through legislation that fails to provide transparency or accountability in the management of pests while at the same time demonstrating exactly why we need more transparency and accountability.
“Biosecurity is an area where something may not appear much of a problem until it becomes a really big problem. That’s why it is important to have a strict biosecurity regime and devote adequate resources.
“The government has now rejected a number of sensible amendments suggested by the Greens on the grounds that they do not have the time to consider these amendments. This shows how rushed this legislation is to the point of farce.”