The IPA’s John Shipp discusses how green ideology has driven the government’s National Food Plan.
The green paper rejects large-scale irrigated agriculture in northern Australia on the explicit authority of a 2009 report by the Northern Australia Land and Water taskforce.
Established by the Howard government in 2007, the taskforce’s original terms of reference were to identify ways agriculture could be expanded in northern Australia, including the Gulf Savannah region. The taskforce recognised that 65 per cent of Australia’s runoff occurred in far north Australia and coastal Queensland, indicating water is underutilised.
With a change of government in November 2007, the NALWT and its mission was changed to reflect the new government’s preferences. Under the Rudd government, members of the green lobby took hold of the taskforce, bringing their anti-development ideology with them.
One member was chosen from the World Wildlife Fund after public statements opposing the intensification of farming in the north. Prominent members of the Australian Conservation Foundation and Planet Ark were also added, one of whom previously argued “irrigated horticulture, intensification of beef production, expansion of mineral exploitation and clearing for forestry plantations is not compatible with protecting the most globally important values of the north – nature and culture.”