The Queensland Greens say that the state government’s Animal Care and Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 which was introduced hastily on 19 June proves this government lacks respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is hypocritical on animal care and protection.
The Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee which considered the legislation gave the public less than a week’s notice for submissions and for public hearings which closed on Friday 29 June. The committee produced a report by the following Monday 2 July.
‘It is disheartening to think that a report that affects so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders should be released on the first day of NAIDOC week celebrations,’ Queensland Greens spokesperson Dr Libby Connors said.
‘We want to add the Queensland Greens name to that of the North Queensland Land Council, the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the RSPCA who have all called for more meaningful and longer consultation.’
Dr Connors said that the haste with which the Newman Government has sought to restrict Aboriginal people’s rights is in stark contrast to their inaction over the destruction of the turtles and dugong in Port Curtis.
‘We do not support hunting which is unnecessarily cruel but slow death by starvation from loss of sea grasses or from heavy metal pollution is probably a greater torture.
‘We want to see a more wholistic consideration of cruel treatment of our marine life rather than this hasty legislation.
‘What hypocrisy that this government should act against Aboriginal people’s interests within the first 100 days in office but the destruction of Great Barier Reef Marine Park waters has intensified under their watch.
‘This government already has an appalling record on cruelty to marine life in Gladstone waters.’
Libby Connors said that the Queensland Government’s actions were insulting to the Aboriginal and Islander communities who were as concerned as the rest of the community about excessive cruelty to turtles and dugongs and had initiated processes to deal with it.
‘The Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee seemed to be unaware that its hearings were being held at the same time as the North Queensland Land Council was holdings its Sea Country Management Forum,’ Dr Connors said.
‘Provisions governing where turtle and dugong meat can be eaten are also misplaced in an act on animal cruelty. Many coastal peoples now live in places such as Cairns and Townsville and should not be denied the right to enjoy traditional foods caught by relatives and friends.’
Contact: Libby Connors 0429 487 110