Clear­ing laws may stay in place

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE - APN News­desk and Emily Smith

NEWS that the State Gov­ern­ment might keep parts of the LNP’s veg­e­ta­tion-clear­ing laws in place is mu­sic to North Bur­nett pro­duc­ers’ ears, but they are ea­ger for more de­tails.

Speak­ing at a Ru­ral Press Club lunch in the Bris­bane Tat­ter­salls Club, State Agri­cul­tural Min­is­ter Bill Byrne said he had spo­ken pri­vately to Fed­eral coun­ter­part Barn­aby Joyce sug­gest­ing they “park the pol­i­tics” when it came to pri­mary in­dus­try pol­icy.

In a wide-rang­ing speech and ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, Mr Byrne sug­gested the La­bor gov­ern­ment would not be com­pletely re­mov­ing the for­mer gov­ern­ment’s veg­e­ta­tion-clear­ing laws.

He said a work­ing com­mit­tee with sev­eral min­is­ters look­ing at chang­ing veg­e­ta­tion-clear­ing laws had been formed and was in­volved in “vi­brant dis­cus­sions”.

“I be­lieve there are grounds to sus­tain some of those changes,” he said.

“I think what we’re en­ter­ing into is a

POL­ICY DIS­CUS­SION: ALP mem­ber for Rock­hamp­ton Bill Byrne out­side the Er­gon En­ergy build­ing in Rock­hamp­ton where sup­port­ers gath­ered to protest as­set sales ahead of the Queens­land elec­tion. gov­ern­ment that will po­ten­tially pro­duce a more sen­si­ble ap­proach to the en­tire prob­lem.

“I can as­sure you that we’ll be mak­ing sure that any im­pacts are min­imised to the max­i­mum de­gree nec­es­sary.”

But Mr Byrne also said La­bor, as a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, was not in a po­si­tion to “dic­tate” to other par­ties.

“So in or­der to have any sub­stan­tive changes in leg­is­la­tion, there will be an over­whelm­ing need to get con­sen­sus,” he said.

But Lan­g­ley Flats gra­zier Neville Gal­loway said pro­duc­ers were not out of the woods yet.

“We were wor­ried we would go back to the old ways where the mob in Bris­bane would look up on the satel­lite and see if we had cleared land,” he said.

“It was then up to the land holder to prove they re­ally needed to clear the land, and that the land had been cleared be­fore.

“As long as it stays self-as­sess­able, that will be good. But I would like to hear the En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter come out and say the same.”

Mr Gal­loway was also ea­ger to hear the State Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy on forestry leases.

“We are still hang­ing out wait­ing for the word on forestry leases,” he said.

PHOTO: CHRIS ISON

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