Hancock Agriculture boss Adam Giles joins chorus of critics slamming Labor’s Nature Positive green laws

Matthew McKenzie
The Nightly
2 Min Read
One of Gina Rinehart’s top executives has slammed the Federal Government’s planned “nature positive” environment laws, warning they’ll cause trouble for industry.
One of Gina Rinehart’s top executives has slammed the Federal Government’s planned “nature positive” environment laws, warning they’ll cause trouble for industry. Credit: unknown/supplied by Hancock Prospecting

One of Gina Rinehart’s top executives has slammed the Federal Government’s planned “nature positive” environment laws, warning they’ll cause trouble for industry.

Hancock Agriculture’s interim chief executive Adam Giles reportedly compared the environmental shakeup to the troubled roll-out of WA’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.

Those laws were later reversed amid concerns the red tape burden would tie up the industry.

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He said there had been too much secrecy about the changes and the average farmer or miner “would have no idea what the government was doing”.

Instead, it was a “select group of handpicked stakeholders” who were told to meet in Canberra with restricted access to phones and laptops.

The laws were designed to win voters from Greens and Labor, Mr Giles told the Australian Financial Review.

The Federal Government’s changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act will significantly alter the process for businesses and governments seeking approvals for major projects.

The Government says the “nature positive” rules mean businesses will need to leave the environment in a better state than they found it. However, industry groups have rallied against the proposed laws.

The Nightly revealed on Tuesday evening that Australia’s farmers were “extremely concerned” about the laws, worried they would “pile further pressure on the nation’s food supply”.

Mr Giles — a former Country Liberal chief minister of the Northern Territory — leads a major agribusiness key to Gina Rinehart’s private business empire. Hancock Agriculture’s portfolio includes the huge pastoral landholdings of S Kidman & Co.

Mr Giles is not the only leader firing a warning shot.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said on Sunday that a mistake on the nature positive rules would risk $93 billion of economic activity.

The West Australian reported Premier Roger Cook said he was aware of “significant dissatisfaction” over consultation on the wide-ranging environmental laws.

Even a leading green group has sounded the alarm.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the planned Federal environment watchdog would be “undermined from the very start” if the minister was handed unfettered power to approve projects.

The Foundation criticised the “messy” consultation process on the laws and said the Labor Government faced pressure on all sides.

The ACF’s chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said plans for ministers to call in projects for assessment would undermine the system and the department that studies and approves developments.

There are concerns, too, about the“preposterously short timeframe” for the industry to contribute to an update of the country’s Nature Strategy, a decade-long plan.

Businesses will have just three weeks to contribute to the significant new strategy, covering complex areas including the future of climate change and a “zero new extinctions” policy.

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