The Courier-Mail

GREENS TARGET FARMERS NEXT

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IWAS howled down rather rudely by green activists last year when I dared suggest that billions worth of mining, rail and port developmen­ts in Queensland were at the mercy of troublemak­ers’ legal challenges.

Everything I said has come true with a vengeance.

For years I have been highlighti­ng overblown environmen­tal campaigns that threaten our prosperity.

I warned that anti-coal activists had adopted a strategy to “disrupt and delay” mines with a loss of jobs and royalties.

Almost when it was too late, Prime Minister Tony Abbot has woken up to the threat.

He told Parliament this week: “This Government is supporting investment and jobs, but I regret to say that some green groups are doing their best to sabotage investment and jobs in our country.” That needed saying a decade ago, Tony.

The PM spoke after a Federal Court delayed the Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin on a technicali­ty because the Environmen­t Department apparently paid insufficie­nt attention to the plight of the yakka skink and the ornamental snake that may live there.

Attorney-General George Brandis called the case “vigilante litigation”. He spoke of “lawfare” against mining.

Queensland will miss out on royalties and struggling towns such as Bowen, Alpha, Jericho and Emerald will suffer because of the delay.

Be warned, Abbott – farmers are the next target.

A new group is quietly cranking up a campaign against Queensland and NSW grain and meat produced on the gas fields.

Certified Gasfield Free will take its campaign to the supermarke­t shelves, urging shoppers to boycott products not carrying its logo.

Certified Gasfield Free is now a registered trademark and is associated with the Lock the Gate Alliance

I understand farmers and graziers will be asked to pay for “Gasfield Free” certificat­ion.

Australian farmers already offer the cleanest grain and meat products in the world. They are already subject to all kinds of federal and state food safety regulation­s.

Neverthele­ss the GreenLeft seems determined to undermine Australian produce in the same way it besmirched the reputation of the Great Barrier Reef, costing millions in lost tourism.

I suspect the Gasfield Free lobby cares not very much about farmers anyway. It’s about the ongoing war on hydrocarbo­ns.

The emergence of the group has angered Steve Wright (left) from the Energy Resource Informatio­n Centre. He claims: “There will be no possible way of scientific­ally verifying the slightest difference in foods from the gas fields or elsewhere.

“It’s about frightenin­g people into believing there is something bad with food produced on the gas fields.”

Wright thinks this could pose a dangerous new threat to rural industries.

“This is a blatant effort to drive campaignin­g by setting farmers against each other and making money out of the conflict,” he said.

“The concept is totally superficia­l – there is no applicable standard or certificat­ion backed by any authority which could be applied – it is just using a cheap logo to drive a wedge between farmers.

“The ‘certificat­ion’ notion seems ludicrous – What possible difference can there be in the products? They will not be any different and will not be produced any differentl­y. If the product is milk, for example, will farmers who use gas energy in their milking operations be excluded from the ‘certificat­ion’?

“Will the plastic container, a byproduct of oil or gas manufactur­e, carry a warning that it has been made using oil or gas?

“The whole underlying concept of the ‘certificat­ion’ seems false. Gas extraction has not caused any serious ecological harm in Australia in the past 100 years, since the first gas was separated from surface water at Roma at the start of the last century.

“No soil or pasture has been fouled, nor any drinking water – as the NSW chief scientist confirmed in late 2014 after an 18-months’ Australian and internatio­nal investigat­ion.”

Many western graziers with organic status presumably wouldn’t qualify for Gasfield Free status because there happens to be a gas or oil reservoir a mile undergroun­d.

Already in Queensland 5000 landholder­s peacefully coexist with the gas giants.

After initial fears, farmers now acknowledg­e the economic and social benefits that came with the gas industry.

After failing to halt gas in Queensland, Lock the Gate cut and ran to NSW where weak state government­s allowed dissent to disrupt a legitimate industry.

Oddly, the war on farmers and miners is being funded by your tax dollars, because groups like Lock the Gate get handouts from green organisati­ons that enjoy tax-deductible donation status.

Lock the Gate is not on the register of organisati­ons with tax-deductible status, yet it receives donations from organisati­ons that are.

So your money is diverted for what appears to be political activism and shameful campaigns to hinder companies doing lawful business.

Just how stupid are we as a nation to allow that?

It’s about frightenin­g people

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