Chief Scientist should oversee Gladstone Harbour study

The LNP has called for Queensland’s Chief Scientist to oversee the inquiry into marine life diseases in Gladstone Harbour.

Shadow Minister for Main Roads, Fisheries & Marine Infrastructure Dr Mark Robinson said Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace needed to be removed from the centre of the issue so that independent science was allowed to find the facts.

“The real problem is that Craig Wallace can’t be trusted,” Dr Robinson said.

“The Bligh government has mishandled and mismanaged this crisis right from day one. Locals are demanding action – they’re sick of government spin.

“The minister has absolutely no credibility, and we need to restore integrity, confidence and independence to the scientific probe into the problems in Gladstone Harbour, and the only way that can happen is for Craig Wallace to hand the overseeing role to the State’s Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett.

“Craig Wallace has been a total embarrassment – he’s also been less than honest about when the government first learned of the problems.

“He gave assurances to the public that subsequently proved to be false – that only barramundi were affected when salmon, shark, mackerel and other species have a similar skin disease – that only a small percentage of fish were infected, when his own department contradicted him – the skin disease was red spot, when scientists say they still do not know – that he only knew about the fish problems in mid-September, when his department confirmed they knew in May – and that he was acting on independent science, when the independent science panel had not met.

“Further, Craig Wallace acted irresponsibly when he re-opened the Harbour to commercial fishing before the independent science panel was even formed, let alone had time to independently investigate the causes.

“No one believes Craig Wallace, certainly not local fishermen who are being forced to sell their cars and homes to pay bills – and certainly not the Gladstone Regional Council which has desperately called on the government to support a fully independent scientific inquiry.

“Only the CanDo LNP team would restore accountability to government,” Dr Robinson said.

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