Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Landholders Fill CQLX Arena; CQ Farmers Gather in Protest of Vegetation Proposal

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Landholders Fill CQLX Arena; CQ Farmers Gather in Protest of Vegetation Proposal

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica Powell Jessica.Powell@capnews.com.au

PROPOSED LAWS

The Queensland Government says the proposed new laws will:

ban broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation for agriculture

expand the "high value regrowth" that is protected from vegetation that hasn't been cleared since the beginning of 1990 (28-year-old trees to 15-year-old trees)

increase, up to almost treble, the maximum penalties courts could impose for illegal clearing to more than half-a-million dollars

give compliance officers more powers and enforcement tools

require farmers to get approval to thin vegetation

still allow farmers to harvest fodder trees to feed livestock

AROUND 500 impassioned farmers gathered this morning at Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) to rally against the proposed new vegetation management laws.

Coming from far and wide, this was the first of many hearings being held across the state.

Applause filled the main arena when North Burnett Regional councillor Robert Radel looked sternly at the panel of State Government representatives and said: "The people who are making these decisions have never actually stepped foot out on these farms."

Cr Radel "guaranteed" everybody in the packed-out arena understood more about land vegetation management than anyone who had proposed the laws.

New laws currently before the Queensland Parliament will reinstate vegetation management controls repealed in 2013.

The Queensland Government stated the changes will increase protection for high-value regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for important habitats, including waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.

Essentially, if approved, the reinstated laws would restrict landholders and require farmers to get approval to thin vegetation and ban broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation for agriculture.

Cr Radel insisted that if the laws were to pass, the flow-on effect would be detrimental to land equity.

He also held the belief that many farms that had been in families for generations, would be lost. …

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