GRAZIERS TAKE A STAND
Changes to vegetation laws cause for concern
PROPERTY owners from across the west are calling for unity ahead of Labor’s potential changes to the vegetation management laws, which have been called “a death warrant” for western graziers.
A petition is in the works as Parliament sits for the first time today.
GRAZIERS issued a call to arms prior to this week’s parliamentary meeting, where a likely item on the Labor agenda will be the reintroduction of stronger vegetation management laws.
Charleville producers Scott and Adma Sargood, who run the 34,300-hectare Halton property, outside Morven, have created a petition with the support of Warrego MP Ann Leahy, opposing potential legislation changes.
An outline for the proposed changes has yet to be released, however, Mr Sargood said if they shared any similarity with Labor’s 2016 framework, they could have frightening implications for outback towns.
“We are in the middle of a drought and we are running on the current tree-clearing laws, using the mulga as fodder for the cattle,” he said.
“If they put (restrictions) on it, there would be tens of thousands of stock in the mulga lands that would be affected.
“That’s like saying to someone, ‘Okay there won’t be any dinner tomorrow night and you won’t be getting any ever again’.
“You’re putting tens of thousands of people’s stock in that situation. You just can’t turn a food supply off like that in the middle of a drought – it’s not humane and it’s not right.”
The duo has been handing out the petition across the west with access to the online version going live on Tuesday.
“The idea of the petition was to gain support from businesses and townspeople in the area,” Mr Sargood said.
“I’m hoping to make the government aware it’s not just the graziers who will be hurt (by the changes) but the whole community.
“Depending on how far they go with these laws, it will be like a cancer, eating up these small towns.
“Annastacia (Palaszczuk) stood up and said she was here for the people of Queensland,” Ms Sargood added.
“But she doesn’t represent the people out here. If she goes through with this, she is signing everyone’s death warrant.”
Charleville business owner Craig Scott said the impact on graziers would have a flow-on effects.
“The changes, as I see them, will de-value local pastoral holdings and make it almost impossible for the graziers, depending on felled fodder, to feed their stock and realise an income,” he said.
“The roll-on effect of these proposed changes will no doubt create a further downturn in the already depressed local business community, as confidence and cash flow diminish within the grazing sector.”
Maranoa producer Rob Loughnan, who runs cattle on his property Alicker, said changes to regrowth management were a main concern for woodland property owners.
“I will be interested to see if they place restrictions on regrowth,” he said.
“We manage these trees to allow the grass to grow, as the trees suck up moisture from the ground.”
On her visit to Roma last month, Ms Palaszczuk offered little respite, as she said Labor would honour its election commitment to The Greens.
“Let’s just make it very clear that everyone knows our election commitment and we are honouring those commitments,” she said.
“And, of course, through the committee process there will be ample opportunity for people to have their say and we will not be bypassing that process.”
Details at www.facebook.com/scottsargoodofficial/.
You just can’t turn a food supply off like that in the middle of a drought – it’s not humane and it’s not right.
— Scott Sargood
NOT RIGHT: Producer Scott Sargood is an opponent of changes to the law, which could leave tens of thousands of livestock without feed.
OPPOSITION: Producer Scott Sargood is calling for graziers and business owners to band together.