Mary Valley hope on dam protection
THE long-term protection of Mary Valley agricultural land will happen, but has a lower priority than the Darling Downs, State Parliament was told this week.
But Nicklin MP Peter Wellington has called for public action to change that. And Gympie MP David Gibson says the government is playing catch-up with the LNP on protecting farmland, particularly after his party’s support for the fight against the Traveston dam.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Wellington asked Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson if the government would “prioritise potential protection of (the Valley’s) good-quality agricultural land,” under its new Strategic Cropping Land policy.
While the policy is aimed at protecting Darling Downs land from mining, Mr Wellington said scientific evidence indicated much of the Mary Valley also would meet the “strategic land” criteria.
In a statement outside Parliament, he said our Valley was potentially the food bowl of Queensland, rivalling the Lockyer Valley.
“Because of the scientifically-established good-quality agricultural land and its strategic location in South-East Queensland, this is an opportunity to protect the Valley’s future by having it included in the government’s Strategic Cropping Land proposal,” he said.
“This matter was brought to a head as a result of the proposed mining activities which are threatening Darling Downs farming land. The government’s proposal will significantly strengthen the current farming policy with a specific Act of Parliament.
“To achieve this, people need to make a submission by September 30.” The proposal is available on the government’s website www.derm.qld.gov.au.
Mr Robertson said the Mary had not been forgotten. “Maps of the Mary Valley (in) this framework document show land in the Valley has been designated strategic cropping land,” he said.
“However the next part of the process is to take these very broad maps and define them at a much higher resolution. In terms of whether the Mary Valley should receive priority, at this point on the Downs are face to face with the resource industry.
“Darling Downs landholders would require priority over the Mary Valley because their intersection between the resource industry and landholders is not as acute as on the Downs.”