Clearing laws may stay in place
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.