Taylor wades deeper into grass dispute
More details have emerged about Angus Taylor’s grasslands saga.
Reports say an expert who allowed a company part-owned by Energy Minister Angus Taylor to spray pesticide on fields containing critically endangered grasslands also wrote a report for the NSW Farmers Association about how agriculture was being impeded by that same grass.
Stuart Burge, who is on the board of Local Land Services South East, conducted a paddock assessment for Jam Land, a company in which energy minister Angus Taylor has an interest.
The report was completed in 2016 and led to the grassland being sprayed with pesticide.
The NSW Farmers Association’s concerns, spelled out by Mr Burge, are now being used by the government to prevent a Senate inquiry into Mr Taylor’s controversial meetings about the grasslands listing.
Mr Taylor requested meetings in early 2017 with officers from the Department of the Environment over the restrictions on farmers looking to poison the protected type of grass.
Mr Taylor was Minister for Cities at the time, so the meeting was well outside his portfolio responsibility.
Earlier this week, he said he was prompted to seek the meetings based on a conversation with an unnamed Yass farmer.
“In late 2016 and early 2017, I spoke with farmers from Boorowa and Goulburn, in my electorate, and Yass, which had been in Hume until mid-2016, about this listing and their concerns with the listing,” he told the parliament.
It is not the first reason Mr Taylor gave for the meeting. Labor’s Tony Burke succinctly summarised the reasons given by the minister this week.
“Can the Minister confirm that his statements to the parliament now offer three reasons for why he held a meeting with the Department of the Environment in 2017?” he asked.
“One, somebody wrote a letter six months after the meeting that was addressed to somebody else. Two, somebody wrote a letter three years before the meeting that was addressed to somebody else and, three, he had a conversation with a bloke in Yass.”