TIME TO RALLY

With a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee rec­om­mend­ing veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment laws be passed with­out any changes, farm­ers now have their fi­nal chance to make a stand

The Western Star - - RURALWEEKL­Y -

QUEENS­LAND farm­ers are an­gry and bit­terly dis­ap­pointed af­ter a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee rec­om­mended “flawed” veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment laws be passed with­out any changes, ac­cord­ing to AgForce Queens­land.

The com­mit­tee made a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions in­clud­ing that the Veg­e­ta­tion Man­age­ment and Other Leg­is­la­tion Bill 2018 be passed. Some other rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded is­su­ing land­hold­ers with a lo­cal guide sheet to help them with the ap­pli­ca­tion of new veg­e­ta­tion clear­ing codes, to ap­point ad­di­tional ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers in lo­cal hubs to help foster pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships and en­gage­ment with the com­mu­ni­ties, and a re­view of the ac­cepted veg­e­ta­tion clear­ing codes within three years.

Charlevill­e farmer and ad­vo­cate for the mulga lands Scott Sar­good was not im­pressed with the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee.

“I thought they should be em­bar­rassed with what they put for­ward,” he said.

“Be­cause to take ab­so­lutely no no­tice at all of the peo­ple

out here who are ac­tu­ally feed­ing them is an in­sult to the peo­ple in the bush.

“What they’ve put for­ward in some places they’ve ac­tu­ally cre­ated more bu­reau­cracy and red tape then we’ve al­ready got.”

Mr Sar­good be­lieves the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try is los­ing out, Queens­land is los­ing out, but the La­bor Party is win­ning.

“Re­gard­less of how many peo­ple they’ve got who are op­pos­ing it, they’ve got no idea about how we live and where we live,” he said.

“It’d be like us telling them where to build the Story Bridge or what­ever they’re build­ing down there.

“The way I see it, they’ve sac­ri­ficed Queens­land for their own po­lit­i­cal ca­reers. It’s a ca­reer de­ci­sion not at the best in­ter­est of the state.

“They’re bit­ing off the hand that feeds them. It’s short term gain, long term pain.

“I don’t think the La­bor Party is the La­bor party any­more, they’re not con­sid­er­ing the work­ers at all.

“When the next par­lia­ment sits is when they will prob­a­bly pass the bill.”

AgForce Gen­eral Pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley said the rec­om­men­da­tion from La­bor MPs on the com­mit­tee was an ab­so­lute dis­grace and a slap in the face for farm­ing fam­i­lies who took the time to have their say and trav­elled vast dis­tances to give ev­i­dence.

“These laws are the worst of both worlds. The changes will make it harder for farm­ers to grow food and fi­bre, shut down agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and lead to worse, not bet­ter, en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes,” he said.

“Farm­ers love and care for their land and the vast ma­jor­ity know how to man­age it re­spon­si­bly.

“Farm­ers have had enough. It doesn’t have to be like this. There is no need to ram these flawed laws through as quickly as pos­si­ble. We’re all in this to­gether, we all eat food and we all care for the en­vi­ron­ment.”

To read the rec­om­men­da­tions head to www.par­lia­ment.qld.gov.au and search for veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FIRED UP: AgForce pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley (cen­tre) will lead a protest at Par­lia­ment House in Bris­bane next week.

PHOTO: MOLLY HAN­COCK

UN­HAPPY FARMER: Mulga lands ad­vo­cate Scott Sar­good says the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tions to pass veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment laws as they stand are an in­sult to the peo­ple in the bush.

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