Queensland Labor MPs are now playing catch-up behind the Coalition’s plans for a national dugong and turtle protection plan.
The Coalition went to the election with a $2.6 million plan that would enable Indigenous Rangers and additional officers to step up practical and effective efforts to protect the key species.
Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Greg Hunt and Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch raised the issue with the Federal Minister in Parliament on Wednesday.
“We handed Tony Burke a copy of the Coalition’s $2.6 million Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan and encouraged him to have the Federal Government act on it,” Mr Hunt said.
“I welcome the fact that some of the local State MPs have now finally decided to become engaged on this issue instead of looking the other way for so long.
“Labor’s response to most things is generally a committee or a new tax. On the dugong and turtle issue, they have chosen the committee.
“It’s better late than never. But these majestic animals need more than just another talk-fest.”
Warren Entsch says that the round table discussions with State MPs and traditional owners will hopefully be the first step to introduce a moratorium so a thorough count of the dugongs can take place.
“We need to know what we are dealing with in terms of numbers and a moratorium needs to be put in place so an official count can be done,” Mr Entsch said. “This way we will know what we are working with in real terms.
“The traditional owners are the best people to facilitate this as the management of their own land is what they do best. Our role will be to assist them in achieving the best outcome,” Mr Entsch said.
Mr Entsch said he hopes that the State MPs will extend an invitation for he and Greg Hunt to join the discussions at the round table considering he is the local Federal Member and has been the one championing the cause with Mr Hunt right from the very start.