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Powell Media Release – LNP will outlaw cruelty to dugongs and turtles (9 March 2012)

QUEENSLAND’S iconic dugong and turtle populations would be protected from unnecessary cruelty under an LNP Government.

LNP Shadow Environment Minister Andrew Powell said further shocking images broadcast overnight again highlighted the extent of the cruel slaughter and the tired, 20-year Labor government’s long-running failure to redress animal welfare issues.

“Labor’s announcement this morning of an investigation into the cruel slaughter was a cynical, election eve move to hide their years of inaction,” Mr Powell said.

“Anna Bligh’s lazy, long-term government has done nothing to stop this cruel and shocking slaughter and the illegal trade in dugong and turtle flesh and her inept Environment Minister Vicky Darling has continually attacked the LNP’s calls for action.”

Mr Powell said the Premier and her lazy Ministers and ineffective Member for Cook Jason O’Brien had all hidden behind the pathetic excuse that the slaughter was all part of traditional hunting – despite repeated and urgent calls for action by concerned Queenslanders.”

“An LNP Government will close a loophole that allows individuals to abuse the traditional hunting allowances and subject dugong and turtles to prolonged, excruciating deaths.

“While the LNP recognises traditional owners were entitled to hunt dugongs and sea turtles for non-commercial use under the Native Title Act 1993, the LNP will remove current exemptions and make it illegal for anyone to wound, mutilate or torture an animal – with penalties of up to two years’ jail or a $100,000 fine,” Mr Powell said.

“This will bring Queensland in-line with other States and territories.

“Keeping a turtle alive while it is cut up or letting a dugong bake to death in the sun is a practice that must be outlawed.

“This is about outlawing animal cruelty and illegal poaching in highly sensitive dugong and turtle habitats.”

Mr Powell said the LNP would work with Indigenous stakeholders to protect Queensland’s dugong and turtle populations from poachers and stop brutality against these iconic species.

“The LNP will fund indigenous rangers to work with communities that seek to implement permit and licence systems like one in operation on the northern Cape peninsula.

“Some Indigenous communities already have their own moratoriums or regulated hunting practices and issued permits.

“An LNP government will work with Indigenous communities to see this successful and proactive model is rolled out across the dugong and turtle habitat.

“It’s time for a change. It’s time to get Queensland back on track.”

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