Queensland farmers’ fury is building over the impact harsh new vegetation management laws will have on food production and the “rushed and ridiculous” way the proposed laws are being rammed through.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the public hearing schedule for the Parliamentary committee that is examining the laws was an “absolute joke” with five hearings jammed into just three days next week.
“These laws are the worst of both worlds. The Palaszczuk Government will make it harder for farmers to grow food and they won’t deliver the best environmental outcomes either. The Government seems to have no idea how the laws would work on the ground and are providing very little practical information to farmers and regional Departmental staff to understand what is being proposed.”
Mr Maudsley says what farmers do know is the laws will mean more red tape and little or no environmental sense or gain.
“Under proposed new codes, farmers face potentially tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs and months of delays just to carry out routine vegetation management, and this could make many businesses unviable. If farmers can’t feed their own families, they can’t feed yours.”
Despite the flaws in the committee process, Mr Maudsley urges farmers to get written submissions into the inquiry by 12pm this Thursday and to turn up in droves to the regional hearings next week.
“I urge all rural Queenslanders and anyone concerned about the future of agriculture to attend these hearings, give evidence and hold respectful but robust protests so the Labor politicians on the committee are left in no doubt about what farmers think of these proposed laws.”
Mr Maudsley says farmers need to be aware also that the new laws go much further than those rejected by the Queensland Parliament in 2016 and would shut down new agricultural development opportunities at a time when global demand for Australian food and fibre was at an all-time high.
“Farmers just want fair and workable laws to grow more food, create more jobs and look after the environment. AgForce spent many months developing a policy proposal aimed at putting an end to this divisive debate, but the Palaszczuk Government won’t listen and has slammed the door in farmers’ faces.”
“We’re calling on the Queensland Parliament to reject these flawed laws and instead work with those most affected by the changes to come up with a long-lasting solution that delivers good outcomes for both agriculture and the environment.
“Our food is too important to be caught up in politics year after year and election after election.”
Written submissions to the Parliamentary inquiry are due at 12pm this Thursday while regional hearings will be held in Rockhampton, Townsville (27 March), Cloncurry (28 March), Longreach, Charleville (29 March) and Cairns (13 April).
More details, including how to register to be a witness at the regional hearings, are available on the Parliamentary committee’s website at: http://bit.ly/2IjmU0H