Farmers fear land clear law change
FAR North farmers will fight tooth and nail to stop changes to land clearing laws they fear will create the biggest disaster since live cattle exports were banned.
About 50 landholders, traditional owners and community leaders gathered in Mareeba on Tuesday to air their concerns about moves to repeal the current vegetation management framework.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is expected to introduce legislation to Parliament later this month, fulfilling an election commitment to reinstate Labor’s “nation-leading” tree clearing laws, which were dismantled by the Newman government.
It comes after the latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study revealed land clearing rates had jumped 11 per cent in two years, with 296,324ha razed in 2013-14.
AgForce hosted the Mareeba forum and has accused the Government of ignoring its own data, which shows tree coverage across Queensland had increased by 437,000ha, despite the land clearing.
AgForce general president Grant Maudsley has described moves to repeal the laws as the biggest threat to farmers since the suspension of the live cattle export trade in 2011.
“The results for Queensland consumers will be more expensive fresh produce and loss of jobs,” he said. “Meat processors have started putting off staff because of a slowdown in domestic cattle supply as Australia’s cattle herd hits a 20-year low.”
Whether the Bill is successful will hinge on the North’s three crossbenchers – Katter’s Australian Party MPs Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter, and independent Cook MP Billy Gordon, who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth and Billy Gordon in Mareeba on Tuesday