Gympie region businesses, workers and farmers will be hit
GYMPIE farmers, graziers and landholders were callously abandoned by the State Labor Government last night, says Gympie MP Tony Perrett.
Mr Perrett said the extent of "these draconian laws will impact everyone from owners of small rural acreages to large landholders”.
"This is not just about graziers and farmers these laws will have a flow on effect to Gympie small businesses, workers and families,” he said.
"The government has shut down debate, let loose tree police, and found landholders guilty with no chance to defend themselves.
"This is the type of government you expect in a Stalinist State.
"They have given unfettered powers for tree police to enter properties purely on the basis they 'believe they have reasonable grounds'.
"If anyone transgresses they face draconian financial penalties which have increased tenfold and include jail time.
"The committee investigating the legislation was more like a stacked show trial which found landholders guilty and ignored any evidence put before it.
"If a PMAV has not been locked in local landholders will be shocked to find how much they cannot do.
"Self-assessable codes have effectively been turned into development applications with a $3,000 application fee and most likely additional expenses in having to use consultants.
"I have real concerns that the re-categorisation of regrowth and Category R rating that is now applied to the Burnett and Mary Rivers catchment will make it virtually impossible to conduct activities in some areas.
"Any mapped watercourse will now have 100 metres of almost unusable land along it because the
government has placed severe restrictions on any vegetation control.
"We are talking about everything including gullies and small drainage features which are everywhere in our region.
"The expansion to the one size fits all approach to Cat R regulations will accelerate erosion.
"Noxious and environmental weeds are out of control in many parts of the State and in the Gympie region.
"Letting trees grow uncontrolled either side of mapped drainage features will create a haven for cats' claw creeper to grow and smother the very trees the Government is trying to save.
"The native grasses will thin allowing giant rat's tail grass and lantana to dominate and choke the remaining grasses.
"This is environmental vandalism at its worst.
"The government is so contemptuous of landholders that when we were discussing the various clauses all I could say was "farmers need certainty” before the government shut down debate.
"It would not let me represent the interests of this electorate or raise concerns as the Shadow Minister for Agricultural Industry Development.
"It was cowardly and manipulative because the government doesn't want to listen.
"The one person in Cabinet who should have been standing up - the Minister for Agriculture, Mark Furner, has been in hiding in his Brisbane CBD office and an electorate office which is 15km away.
"The Minister clearly has a tin ear when it comes to the agricultural sector.
"The day before last year's election this Minister signed a Wilderness Society's pledge to change vegetation laws within 100 days.
"He said nothing and was complicit as he sat in the Senate beside his Queensland Labor mate, Joe Ludwig, who in 2011 devastated the beef industry with a ban on the live export cattle trade.
And on this he has stayed mute with his hands clapped over his ears.
"Just saying you support our agricultural sector is hollow when you refuse to stand up when it counts.
"All the manufactured photo shoots in RMs and an Akubra for feel good fluff pieces are just for show.
"Not standing up when it is your job is gutless and cowardly.
"The Minister effectively voted to curtail activities and stifle growth in the sector, remove property rights, threaten local jobs, and seriously affect property values and the ability for landholders to manage their properties,” he said.