UP­SET AT VEG LAWS

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy @west­ern­starnews.com

QUEENS­LAND land­hold­ers are once again set to be banned from broad-scale clear­ing of veg­e­ta­tion af­ter state par­lia­ment passed the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment’s en­vi­ron­men­tal laws last week.

The laws were passed late on Thurs­day night af­ter three days of de­bate and protests out­side Par­lia­ment House.

War­rego MP Ann Leahy said the week had been “ab­so­lutely hor­ren­dous” for land­hold­ers and their fam­i­lies.

“It’s been an ap­palling week in state par­lia­ment for not only farm­ers and their fam­i­lies, but for small busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties right across re­gional Queens­land, who will also suf­fer th­ese de­struc­tive veg man­age­ment laws brought in by the Palaszczuk La­bor Gov­ern­ment and rammed through par­lia­ment,” she said.

“The LNP stood up, we fought in ev­ery pos­si­ble way we could, it was an ab­so­lute fight to the death,” she said.

“The changes to the fod­der har­vest­ing mean peo­ple won’t be able to run as many breed­ing stock as they have been able to in the past. Their prof­itabil­ity will be se­ri­ously im­pacted and, when you im­pact the prof­itabil­ity of those busi­nesses and the farm­ing busi­nesses, you im­pact the prof­itabil­ity of ev­ery sin­gle per­son in ru­ral and re­gional towns.”

Ms Leahy said the laws would con­tract the econ­omy across ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties through­out the state.

“One thing that re­ally dis­ap­points me is that there is a great fu­ture for agri­cul­ture and food pro­duc­tion for many good, young farm­ers across the re­gion, and this will make it so much harder for them to be the next gen­er­a­tion of good farm­ers.”

AgForce gen­eral pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley said agri­cul­ture was the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of many of Queens­land’s re­gional and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and the im­pact of th­ese laws would be felt far be­yond the farm gate.

“Farm­ers love and care for their land and only man­age veg­e­ta­tion to sus­tain­ably pro­duce the great food and fi­bre that con­sumers in Aus­tralia and over­seas de­mand,” he said.

“It’s a real kick in the guts for the next gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers who want to ex­pand and grow their busi­nesses but have now had their fu­tures stolen away from them.

“One thing is for sure – this is not over. This is the be­gin­ning, not the end.

“Farm­ing fam­i­lies have shown they can and will get much more ac­tive in ex­plain­ing what they do, call­ing out mis­in­for­ma­tion and shar­ing sto­ries of what life on the land is re­ally like.

“The Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment ig­nores at their peril the tsunami of sup­port farm­ers are re­ceiv­ing from peo­ple of all walks of life from all over Queens­land – city and coun­try.”

“Veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment has been di­vi­sive for two decades and the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment had an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop a long-last­ing solution, but they squan­dered it and rammed through flawed laws that just guar­an­tee the po­lit­i­cal ping-pong will con­tinue,” he said.

“It’s pretty sim­ple – if farm­ers can’t feed their own fam­i­lies, they can’t feed yours. We’re all in this to­gether, we all eat food, we all wear clothes, and we all care for the en­vi­ron­ment.”

PHOTO: ALEXIA AUSTIN

POINT OF VIEW: Ros­alita Cal­cino, from Joy­lands, at the Charleville veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment rally in March this year.

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