Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said he has relieved the Western Downs Local Drought Committee of their duties.
Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said he has relieved the Western Downs Local Drought Committee of their duties. Kevin Farmer

Committee to be relieved of their duties

WESTERN Downs Local Drought Committee members will be relieved of their roles by the state's Agriculture Minister.

Mark Furner announced on Wednesday that the use of the committee for "political gain" meant the membership needed to change.

"The LDCs are meant to be free from political influence, to avoid lobbying, and ensure members are free to make unencumbered decisions based on science that will serve the community for the coming 12 months," Mr Furner said.

"It is my view that the committee process has been manipulated for political gain.

"Given that I believe the committee has been compromised, I have instructed the department to relieve the LDC of their duties."

Member for Warrego Ann Leahy said Mr Furner's decision was "unprecedented and hateful".

"In an act of spite the Minister has sacked the volunteer Local Drought Committee members and I believe this to be a threat to all other Drought Committee members across Queensland who seek to question or reverse decisions of this Labor Government," Ms Leahy said.

Ms Leahy did welcome the partial drought declaration of the eastern area of the Western Downs.

"However this has been a long an arduous process that could have been avoided if the Palaszczuk Labor Government and the Minister took more interest in the drought conditions that primary producers faced on a day-to-day basis," she said.


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