Palaszczuk Government continues to mislead on vegetation facts

Palaszczuk Government continues to mislead on vegetation facts

The Palaszczuk Government is selectively using statistics and ramping up their Reef rhetoric in a desperate bid to shore up support for proposed vegetation management laws that will stifle development opportunities, cost jobs and drive up food prices.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the 2014/15 Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) report revealed that only about 0.2 per cent of woody vegetation cover is being cleared annually in Queensland.

“The primary focus of this report is measuring vegetation clearing, which is only part of the story. It’s akin to measuring how many people mowed their lawn.  The reality is you have to mow your lawn regularly or it overgrows and similarly, farmers have to manage and maintain vegetation on their properties to prevent thickening,” he said.

“More than 80 per cent of Queensland is still gripped by drought and this report has shown that the Brigalow Belt and Mulga Lands continue to record the highest woody vegetation clearing rates in 2014-15.  This is largely farmers sustainably harvesting mulga to feed their starving livestock – a fact even one of the Queensland Government’s own scientists has acknowledged in media reports today.

“The Palaszczuk Government continues to speak about clearing rates in isolation rather than as total vegetation cover, which ignores the fact that their own data has shown an increase in wooded vegetation cover of more than 400,000 hectares in recent years. Meanwhile, the Government continues to allow clearing of land for urban development, resource projects and infrastructure corridors.”

Mr Maudsley said with the report showing no increase in overall clearing rates this year compared to last year, the Palaszczuk Government had instead chosen to ramp up their Reef rhetoric and unnecessarily attack farmers.

“Like all Australians, farmers want to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is protected and preserved for generations to come,” he said.

“The agriculture sector is doing its bit to improve water quality through the roll-out of Best Management Practice programs which help farmers benchmark their business against the best industry standards using the best available science.

“The reality is that everyone, including farmers, graziers, developers, all levels of government, the resources sector, traditional owners, tourism operators and members of the community must be part of the solution to protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef now and into the future.

“AgForce will consider this report in detail over coming days, but we maintain our view that the proposed vegetation management laws are politically motivated by a Government that prefers to look at vegetation via satellites rather than on the ground with the people who manage it.”

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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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