In­dus­try con­cerns con­firmed over VMAs

The Western Star - - News | Rural -

AGFORCE has taken aim at the state gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to lis­ten to con­cerns about the Veg­e­ta­tion Man­age­ment Act, af­ter a gov­ern­ment-led in­quiry found the VMA to have con­tributed to last year’s bush­fires.

A re­view by the In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Emer­gency Man­age­ment found the “overly bu­reau­cratic, re­stric­tive and con­fus­ing na­ture” of the VMA se­verely re­stricted landown­ers in pre­vent­ing and man­ag­ing bush­fires, rec­om­mend­ing they be over­hauled.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the IGEM’s find­ing that the VMA ex­ac­er­bated the fires that de­stroyed over 520,000 hectares of Queens­land farm­land and na­tional park, killing thou­sands of wild an­i­mals and livestock was “shock­ing, but not sur­pris­ing.”

“We have been warn­ing the Gov­ern­ment of the dan­gers of these ill-con­sid­ered, ide­o­log­i­cally-dog­matic laws for nearly two years,” Mr Guerin said.

“The 2018 bush­fires proved that the VMA was im­prac­ti­cal, if not im­pos­si­ble, from a land­holder’s per­spec­tive, and pre­vented them from im­ple­ment­ing ef­fec­tive fire preven­tion mea­sures, such as ad­e­quate back­burns and fire­breaks.

“I en­dorse the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tion that ‘leg­is­la­tion re­lat­ing to veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment, bush­fire mit­i­ga­tion and haz­ard re­duc­tion be re-assed, to en­able more ap­pro­pri­ate and flex­i­ble means at the lo­cal level for the re­duc­tion of in­tense fires’.”

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