REEF ROW: Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett (pictured) and Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders have clashed over the State Government's reef laws
REEF ROW: Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett (pictured) and Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders have clashed over the State Government's reef laws Cassandra Glover

'He's a nong': Labor MP's fiery row with Shadow Minister

BRUCE Saunders has branded Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett a "nong" in a fiery row over the State Government's proposed reef laws.

Mr Perrett took aim at the Maryborough Labor MP earlier this week.

He asked whether Mr Saunders would vote to protect local sugar jobs in the firing line of the restrictive reef regulations or "simply kowtow to his Brisbane masters".

The State Government's new reef laws will mandate new minimum standards for the agricultural sector, including how much nitrogen can be used on crops, in a bid to reduce the chemical and sediment run-off into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Bananas, sugarcane and grains are among the major industries that will likely be impacted.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch claims the regulations will help address the declining quality of the reef and protect the 60,000 jobs that rely on its health.

But Mr Perrett says the laws will affect Maryborough canegrowers by limiting their production, which could lead to job losses.

"If Bruce Saunders fails to stand up for Maryborough jobs, it proves what we have suspected from the start - he is Brisbane's representative in Maryborough rather than Maryborough's representative in Brisbane," Mr Perrett said.

"In a regional community like Maryborough, 441 jobs are a big deal and for Labor to write them off just to appease green votes in Brisbane is outrageous and shows just how out of touch they are."

Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Saunders fired back at Mr Perrett, saying he should "do his job instead of acting like a nong".

"I'm more worried about Mr Perrett backing the roll-out of the cashless welfare card into my electorate," Mr Saunders said. "I don't listen to him.

"There's all this white-anting and fear-mongering from the LNP... (Mr Perrett) is the last person I'd talk to about the reef laws.

"Who cares what he thinks?"

Asked whether he backed the State Government's reef laws, Mr Saunders said he was waiting on the feedback from cane farmers.

"Water quality is a big issue because the reef is under attack," he said.



Murder, drugs and abuse: Court cases that shocked Coast

Murder, drugs and abuse: Court cases that shocked Coast

These were the cases that rocked the Coast

1000 per cent increase: Border opening makes state number 1

premium_icon 1000 per cent increase: Border opening makes state number 1

Tourism surging since decision to reopen borders

RARE SIGHT: Whole families of elusive sea creatures spotted

premium_icon RARE SIGHT: Whole families of elusive sea creatures spotted

A herd of dugongs was spotted from the vessel