During the inquiry, academics admitted the following:
'Cloudy water' affects only the inner reefs being three per cent of the reef. That cloudy water effect is natural with no proven impact from modern farming methods.
Targets for pesticides near the reef and on the reef are not being exceeded.
The middle and outer reefs are pristine and show no sign of impact from farming.
There is no direct evidence that dissolved nitrogen is having any effect on inshore coral reefs and certainly no effect on the middle and outer reefs.
There have been no measurements of coral growth rate since 2005. That’s fifteen years with no data and the question this raises is - what is the basis for the state government’s regulations?
Over recent decades farmers have made considerable changes to farming practice, yet academics say there has been no impact from these changes and that leads logically to the conclusion that farming is having no discernible impact on the reef.
The cost of the state government’s regulations to each farmer is or will be tens of thousands of dollars per family farm. Yet there is no benefit to the reef, and according to Dr Walter Starck it will increase the price of the food we buy - all for no benefit to the reef or environment.
Secondly, in giving evidence under questioning, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) admitted:
"There is lots we don’t know about the Great Barrier Reef";
The term "Consensus Statement" may be misleading; and
"Climate change is not connected to farming".
Thirdly, it became clear during the inquiry that the state government is not meeting farmers' needs to be heard. Neither is the government meeting farmers' and communities' needs to be treated with respect and consideration. Farmers are understandably frustrated and angry and have lost confidence in the state government because they have never been presented with the empirical scientific evidence needed to justify the changes the state government is imposing.
Fourthly, witnesses confirmed that farmers today are environmentalists and not criminals. Farmers confirmed that they know that their main asset is their farm soil and they protect that. Farmers today know that the future productivity and value of their farm depends on the quality of the surrounding natural environment. Farmers know that productive farming and the natural environment have a mutually beneficial relationship, not as bureaucrats and politicians often wrongly portray farming and the environment as being mutually exclusive. Productive farming depends on a healthy natural environment and in turn the natural environment depends on healthy, economically productive farming communities.
These days farming must be internationally competitive, and farmers cannot afford to waste money applying fertilisers if those fertilisers run-off their farm. Technology today places fertilisers where they are needed and no more.
Fifth, a summary of answers from Dr Walter Starck’s replies to questions on notice about WWF’s activities here in Australia and overseas and notes the highly detrimental consequences of their scientifically unfounded activism.