Landholders urged to sign petition opposing vegetation laws

Landholders are urged to sign a new petition being launched today to express their opposition to new vegetation management laws that take away farmers’ property rights and jeopardise jobs in regional Queensland.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley, who is the principal petitioner, said the petition provided a platform for Queenslanders concerned about the impact of the new laws to send a message to the Palaszczuk Government.

“These outrageous changes to the Vegetation Management Framework are completely unacceptable. The laws will restrict supply and drive up food prices, stifle development and cost jobs, and mean farmers are guilty until they prove their innocence,” he said.

“Farmers work hard to ensure they manage their land sustainably and they need security and certainty for investment. These laws take away that certainty and economic security.

“I would encourage all Queenslanders concerned about regional jobs and the price of food to show their support for Queensland farmers and landholders whose livelihoods will be affected by the Palaszczuk Government’s disastrous new laws.”

Mr Maudsley said the petition was launched by Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Andrew Cripps in Townsville today and hard copies would be circulated across Queensland.

“The petition requests the Queensland Parliament not to support the new vegetation management legislation in its current form and to reject amendments that would water down existing property rights and remove opportunities for sustainable agricultural production,” he said.

A copy of the e-petition can be found at: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions

The petition closes on Tuesday 16th August 2016.

Background:

  • The Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 17 March 2016.
  • The Bill has been referred to the Agriculture and Environment Parliamentary Committee for consideration with a report due back by 30 June 2016.
  • The Bill removes High Value Agriculture and Irrigated High Value Agriculture from the Vegetation Management Framework which restricts farmers’ opportunities to grow fodder and grain.
  • It also re-introduces the reverse onus of proof and takes away the ‘mistake of fact’ defence, meaning farmers are presumed guilty until proven innocent, relegating them to a level below most criminals.
  • The Bill also includes High Value Regrowth (Category C) as an additional layer of regulation under the Vegetation Management Framework on leasehold, freehold and indigenous land and extends Category R vegetation (regrowth watercourse areas) to three new Great Barrier Reef catchments.
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AgForce has been the unifying voice for Queensland’s beef, sheep and grain producers since 1999. Our strength continues through our membership and a strategic vision to secure the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agribusiness sector.

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