Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Locals Say No to Land Bill

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Locals Say No to Land Bill

Article excerpt

A BILL before State Parliament has huge implications for a group of Gympie region farming families and land holders.

The Bill, the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, proposes sweeping changes to the way vegetation is cleared across Queensland.

More than 100 people turned up at the Civic Centre on Wednesday evening to either address an inquiry about proposed changes to the Bill or to listen to submissions.

The general consensus among people who presented their written submissions and the 20 locals who made verbal submissions was that the proposed changes "go too far".

The first speaker, Michelle Daly, from Gympie Koala Action Group, said the Bill "failed our state, whose community expects vulnerable species will have optimum protection in any vegetation management framework".

She said the group supported the restoration of responsible and sustainable tree clearing laws that offer more protection to koalas, other wildlife species and the environment.

"I have great sympathy for many of the audience's concerns," she told The Gympie Times after the hearing. "We want the committee to find a way through all the complexities and come up with a balanced act. We do not want to antagonise farmers - some of us are farmers and farms care for koalas."

Other submitters were mostly farmers and land owners.

A common theme was that in areas where land had been cleared and then left - whether because of poor management, government intervention or laws, or any other reason - invasive weeds quickly became a problem which were then expensive and difficult to control and almost impossible to eradicate.

Ian McKay, chairman of the Mary River Catchment Co-ordination Committee, said their group was good at maintaining and protect productivity while protecting the environment.

"Stop using this issue as a political football," he said. "The wider community needs to have confidence in this (Bill). Governments come and go but the environment goes on forever."

A common concern among the submitters was a proposed 50m riparian strip, either side of any stream or river. …

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