Why change to land laws will hurt
THE Tree Clearing Amendments proposed by Labor have a lot more to do with the economic future of the north and in particular the Tablelands, Gulf and Cape York region, than a green agenda.
With China, India and Indonesia set to experience the highest growth rates in population and consumption of food in history in the next 30 years our northern region will be a key player.
We must be able to grow beef, grain, vegetables and other commodities on a scale and at a price to meet the de- mand. The essential ingredients are arable land, water, tenure security and infrastructure.
Full credit to the current Member for Cook for calling the scare campaign by the greens for what is it is. An agenda of lies and misinformation by TWS, ACF, WWF and so on to stop all tree clearing completely by calling in a promise by Labor at the last election in a preference deal.
However Mr Gordon has been misinformed about the current tree clearing rules. Approval is given only after a rigorous process by two Government departments in- volving strict environmental guidelines and only on the most suitable land for agriculture and is closely monitored.
Agforce has done a great job of dispelling many of the myths around this debate.
There are no loop holes and there has been no free for all or panic clearing as Labor alleges. The clearing that has occurred has been done by Queenslanders farmer’s not big companies, employing local people and using their own money not foreign investment.
The largest area cleared involved just 0.25 per cent of the bioregion and will employ 300 people and inject hundreds of millions into the northern economy.
CYPLUS recognised many thousands of hectares right across Cape York as being suitable for agriculture. The reality is that if these laws are passed the people of Cook and in particular the indigenous people of the Cape will see all the land locked up and there will be no opportunity to participate in the world’s largest growing economies on our doorstop.
It is not true the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act allows indigenous people to clear their lands, as the Act only allows minimal clearing in declared areas for approved purposes such as gardens and orchards under very strict conditions at the Minister’s discretion. It will not allow clearing on the larger cattle properties and areas controlled by indigenous people.
My dream for Cook was to see the PDR sealed in five years and a major dam completed at Lakeland opening up the Weipa Port to Asia.
If these laws are tampered with the people of Cook will be watching the produce flowing from the south while they stand waist deep in regrowth because their land had been tied up.
The people of Cook are not to be taken for suckers and want the laws left alone so they can secure the future for their children.