The gentlemen have failed in their responsibility

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tamworth’s AE Stannard queries the level of respect that some elected representatives show to the members of the community.

“Stop the Clock” was the front page headline on The Northern Daily Leader (Saturday, February 28) supported by a photo of federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and state member Kevin Anderson.

Mr Hunt announced the federal decision concerning Shenhua Watermark coal mine was due on March 13 but the issues have been referred back to the Independent Expert Assessment Commission for further examination.

Mr Hunt is utilising legislation put through parliament by Tony Windsor, when Julia Gillard was prime minister, aimed at assessing all adverse impact developments may have on this nation’s water resources.

At the time the legislation was being debated, Mr Hunt was the opposition spokesperson on the environment and Barnaby Joyce was a Queensland senator.

Surely we would expect that both these gentlemen would be fully conversant with the act, its implication and application.

Mr Hunt, Mr Joyce and Mr Anderson have wasted the past two years not hearing the concerns and doubts of the community, during which time the appropriate water modelling and other scientific data would have been assessed.

In my view these three gentlemen have failed in their responsibility towards the community they represent in that they failed to comprehend that the issues are not solely about coal, fertile soil and water, but the emotional turmoil and distress families are enduring while their parliamentary representations twiddle their thumbs.

This last-minute announcement by the minister indicates that the community’s concerns are not treated with the respect they deserve.

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