Perrett accused of conflicts of interest as election looms
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has come under fire from recreational forest use campaign groups with allegations the Opposition’s spokesman for forestry is conflicted by two grazing leases he holds.
The Queensland State Forest User Alliance and State Forest Hunting for Queensland said Gympie’s voters should be concerned about the leases given he had not released his policy on recreational state forest use.
QSFUA and SFH campaign manager Rhys Bosley said the use of large tracts of Queensland State Forest by graziers is a “key sticking point” for groups trying to negotiate better access.
“Last week in The Gympie Times Mr Perrett made a big deal about unemployment in Gympie, yet as the aspiring LNP Forestry Minister who has an apparent conflict of interest, he has refused to release a policy position on recreational forest use,” Mr Bosley said.
“This is despite the previous LNP government having released a multi-use tenure policy statement in 2013.
“It isn’t a great look for Mr Perrett and if it isn’t resolved, for the LNP either,” Mr Bosley said.”
Mr Perrett declined to comment.
An LNP spokesman said the party had “no plans to change the current access rights to State Forests, this has been communicated to the Queensland State Forest User Alliance”.
“Activities such as bush walking, mountain biking, camping, horse riding, trail bike riding, and fossicking can occur in many State Forests around Queensland but these decisions are made on a forest by forest basis,” he said.
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“Queensland’s State Forests are already accessed by a diverse range of users and any proposal to change existing access rights would require full consultation.”
Mr Bosley said he had tried for several months to get Mr Perrett to release his position on recreational forest use and was “not trying to stitch (him) up”.
“Nobody is seeking to deny the right of state forest grazing lease and permit holders, to be assured that they will be able to operate their businesses without being negatively impacted by recreational use,” he said.
“However, the fact is that grazing leases or permits issued over Queensland state forest do not grant exclusive use to graziers at the expense of recreational users.
“Queenslanders have a right to know how political parties leading up to the Queensland election, intend to facilitate the sharing of our State Forests, so that all Queenslanders get a fair go at using them.”