The Australian Greens said today that Tony Abbott's plan for Australia's north shows how little he understands about the importance of responsible, sustainable development.
"Northern Australia is not an empty and forgotten part of our country waiting to be exploited, which is what Mr Abbott seems to think," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.
"Moves towards intensive agriculture and expanded resource development, along with weakened, tick-and-flick environmental assessments have the potential to very damaging to the environment and local communities.
"Investment in northern Australia is important, however this must be done in a long term, sustainable fashion in order to support communities, not simply to deliver on the demands of big business.
"Large scale intensive agriculture across the north of Australia has been a pipe dream for decades. It's been tried before and the results have ended up as expensive white elephants.
"The water for large scale intensive agriculture isn't available, as has been demonstrated by CSIRO. The entire operation would also be susceptible to changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events.
"Intensive land use would affect entire ecosystems, and Mr Abbott cannot gloss over that fact.
"Unsustainable land use, changes to water flow, pollution and invasive species all have the capacity to radically change this part of our country.
"Northern Australian needs to be managed in a responsible and sustainable way, and that is not the path being set out by Tony Abbott," Senator Siewert concluded.