Plea to end veg madness
MANY of you would be well across the current tree clearing legislation debate occurring across the state at present.
It’s one that is raising tensions across both sides of the fence and causing significant emotional responses, particularly from landowners holding valid, significant concerns for their ongoing viability under the new legislation.
As an individual looking in on the debate though, I have significant concerns about how our politicians are allowing the process to unfold.
The end goal of any policy debate should be sustainable, long-term policies that can withstand a change of government and allow participants certainty to make future investments on their property over the long term.
At present, the topic has morphed into an us-versus-them debate and has seen both sides of politics take vastly different policy settings.
In effect, this will mean, at each change of government, the agricultural sector will have to manage significant change in vegetation management laws.
Hardly a position of strength in which we can attract investment into the sector.
The lack of long-term certainty for environmental groups also ensures they cannot meet their goals of increased sustainability.
These groups need long-term solutions to deal with a long-term issue. Let’s set a clear understanding of what we agree on as well.
All participants, from both sides, want a science-based, diplomatic process in which the laws are created.
At present, the debate is not centred on science, rather emotion and political point scoring.
Labor has done themselves a significant disservice by eroding regional Queensland’s confidence in the process by not having regional representation within cabinet.
Further, LNP are being quiet in the process and not standing up to assist in their constituents understanding of the impacts of the proposed laws and advocating for the right amendments to create a long-term solution.
We, as an industry, must drive collaboration with all parties to ensure the laws passed in the halls of Parliament are acceptable to us.
After all, it’s our industries that will suffer the most through poorly drafted laws.
This will mean, however hard to swallow, we must engage with groups who have previously lost our confidence on past issues.
There is a bigger prize here we must seek.
AgForce president Grant Maudsley put it into layman’s terms earlier this year when he said the proposed new laws would limit the economic capacity of agriculture as well as leading to perverse environmental outcomes.
"We need fair and balanced laws that will drive sustainable agricultural production and deliver good environmental outcomes for Queensland without strangling farmers in red tape," Mr Maudsley said.
“I implore our politicians, from both sides, to work together on a long-term solution to the tree clearing debate.
“Stop making this an election issue and build a bipartisan solution that can withstand the upheaval of political changes," Mr Maudsley said.
“Please work with your constituents to inform, educate, and remove the emotional responses from the debate.”
UNDERSTANDING: A sign in western Queensland highlighting the use of mulga trees in the bush.