Flawed vegetation management laws re-introduced into the Queensland Parliament will make it harder for farmers to produce food, shut down new agricultural development and won’t deliver the best outcomes for the environment, AgForce said.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said Queensland had recently become the number one agricultural state in Australia, but the Queensland Government’s proposed vegetation management laws will stop the industry’s growth.
“Farmers sustainably produce the great food and fibre consumers demand by managing vegetation on their land,” he said.
“Farmers love and care for their land, and just want fair and workable laws so we can grow more food, create jobs and look after the environment without being strangled by red tape.
“The Government’s laws won’t achieve that balance and will instead make it harder for farmers to do our job and make it harder to maintain healthy, productive and biodiverse landscapes.
“The scrapping of the high value agriculture process will stop new and sustainable development opportunities, particularly in the north, where people are crying out for new jobs.”
Mr Maudsley said the Queensland Government’s own figures showed just 0.23 per cent of the state was being cleared and that didn’t take into account how much vegetation was growing at the same time.
“AgForce has always said we are willing to engage in a science and evidence-based process on this issue, which means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation has regrown and why vegetation is being managed, not just how much has been cleared,” he said.
“Farmers on the ground can point to parts of their properties where trees and shrubs are thicker than ever and are rapidly encroaching on the semi-open woodlands and naturally open grasslands where cattle and sheep graze.
“Unmanaged vegetation doesn’t deliver the best environmental outcomes and reduces the ability of farmers to grow food for their family and yours.”
Mr Maudsley said the flawed laws introduced were worse than those quite rightly rejected by the last Queensland Parliament and should be rejected again.
“The legislation that was introduced includes interim codes that come into place,” he said.
“There are currently no guidelines or support available to producers to understand their obligations within the interim codes, so what confidence can we have in this Government to support Queensland’s fastest growing industry?
“AgForce is once again asking the Government 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.
“AgForce has developed a ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy Agriculture’ policy that provides a way forward.
“Our proposal focusses on land management plans with defined environmental and agricultural production outcomes that would be agreed to by both farmers and the Queensland Government.
“It would be a win for farmers, a win for the environment and a win for Government.
“Is the Palaszczuk Government willing to work with farmers to get this sorted once and for all or will green politics trump good policy yet again?”