Agforce slams land management law changes
PROPOSED changes to vegetation management laws which impact Gympie farmers will also drive up food prices, stifle regional development and cost jobs, AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said on Friday.
Mr Maudsley made the comments during a presentation to the Agriculture and Environment Committee’s public hearing in Brisbane examining the proposed new laws. A hearing also took place in Gympie on Wednesday.
Mr Maudsley said Queensland farmers were fed up with vegetation management laws being used as a political football.
“Since 1999, Queensland primary producers have borne the brunt of 18 major changes and 38 amendments to vegetation laws,” he said.
“This has left farmers with no security of tenure and no certainty to plan for the future.
“The vast majority of these changes have been made on the back of political promises, not on the basis of environmental logic. It’s all about what the Government thinks is good politics, not good policy.”
Mr Maudsley said Queensland agriculture had the potential to grow from $17 billion a year to $30 billion a year over the next decade, but that could only happen with sensible land management laws.
“These proposed laws will make it harder for farmers to grow their businesses, which means fewer job opportunities in regions that are crying out for more jobs,” he said.
“For consumers, it will mean higher beef prices as these proposed laws will restrict supply at the same time as demand for our high quality food and fibre is growing.”
Mr Maudsley said farmers were the true environmentalists and worked hard to ensure their land was managed properly and sustainably.
“Managing vegetation doesn’t mean there are fewer trees. The State Government’s own figures show an increase of more than 400,000 hectares of new wooded vegetation cover for the period of 2010 to 2014,” he said.
“Farmers are sick of the constant changes to vegetation management laws.
“We want laws that have bi-partisan support so they stand the test of time. We want laws that provide certainty to landholders. We want laws that allow farmers to get on with the job of producing high quality food and fibre for Australia and the rest of the world.”