GRA­ZIERS TAKE A STAND

Changes to veg­e­ta­tion laws cause for con­cern

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Alexia Austin Alexia.Austin@west­ern­starnews.com

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

PHOTO: MOLLY HAN­COCK

NOT RIGHT: Pro­ducer Scott Sar­good is an op­po­nent of changes to the law, which could leave tens of thou­sands of live­stock with­out feed.

PHOTO: MOLLY HAN­COCK

OP­PO­SI­TION: Pro­ducer Scott Sar­good is call­ing for gra­ziers and busi­ness own­ers to band to­gether.

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