Land management plans with defined environmental and agricultural production outcomes agreed to by both farmers and the Queensland Government form the centrepiece of a policy AgForce has proposed to end the divisive debate over vegetation laws.
With the new Queensland Parliament sitting for the first time, AgForce General President Grant Maudsley has called on the Government to work with farmers to ensure Queensland remained the number one agricultural state in the country.
“Farmers only manage vegetation on our land to produce high-quality food and fibre that the state, the nation and the world demands. Harsh new regulations won’t help that,” he said.
“The laws that dictate what we can and can’t do on our land have been divisive and constantly changing for the past two decades, with farmers left in a state of confusion about how we are to produce the high-quality food and fibre consumers demand.
“The Government has a once in a generation opportunity to show real leadership and work genuinely with those most affected by these laws to come up with a long-lasting solution to this issue.
“About one in seven jobs in Queensland is either entirely or partially dependent on the food sector, and we want the Government to be a champion of an industry that is punching above its weight.”
Mr Maudsley said AgForce’s ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy Agriculture’ policy was focussed on achieving the best environmental and agricultural production outcomes without strangling farmers in red tape.
“The central plank would be a ‘Baseline Area Management Plan’, which would include property maps based on historical data and contemporary satellite imagery, and an agreement between the State Government and landholder about how vegetation management would occur,” he said.
“This approach would provide greater certainty to primary producers who would be able to manage their land to achieve an acceptable environmental outcome while still maintaining their property’s productivity and profitability. For Government, it means vegetation management activities are known, better defined and documented, and easily monitored.”
Mr Maudsley said new agricultural development opportunities would be lost and many farmers would be left with stranded assets if the Government re-introduced similar flawed vegetation management laws to those rejected by the last Queensland Parliament.
“Agriculture is the fastest growing industry in the country, yet our State Government wants to slam on the handbrake and make it harder for us to do our jobs and help create jobs,” he said.
“Let’s instead work together to develop a bi-partisan solution on this issue that stands the test of time and ensures Queensland remains the number one agricultural state in Australia.”