Backlash from conservationists over management
THE Queensland Government has received a backlash from local conservationists over proposed changes to vegetation management.
The proposed Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill was developed to reduce red tape and increase growth in the agricultural sector, however a concern is the bill will wind back environmental protection laws.
Cairns and Far North Environment Centre coordinator Anna McGuire said the amendments would reduce protection of native vegetation and allow the clearing of 700,000 hectares of endangered and ecologically significant forests and woodlands.
‘‘Many of the amendments are not in the long-term interests of Queensland communities and are in direct conflict with the purpose of the Vege- tation Management Act, which is to make land use more sustainable by preserving biodiversity and maintaining ecological processes,’’ she said.
‘‘These amendments effectively prioritise economic interests over ecological concerns. This Bill should be rejected for the sake of maintaining our soil and waterway health, protecting biodiversity, and safeguarding the future prosperity of our regional and rural communities.
‘‘What we need in this point of time, given the risk to biodiversity from multiple factors, is for legislation to be strengthened rather than weakened and not necessarily the vegetation management act but environment protection in general.’’
Ms McGuire said there needs to be legislation in place that can find a balance between environmental pro- tection and sustainable agriculture instead of changing a management plan that has had a positive impact on the environment state-wide.
‘‘We are encouraging people to contact Premier Newman about this, it’s a really important issue and we encourage people to find out more and pass on any concerns to the Premier, this is an issue of state concern,’’ she said.