George St. Brisbane was a sea of broad brimmed hats and green shirts this morning as hundreds of farmers joined with supporters to protest at the State Government’s proposed changes to vegetation Management Laws.
The AgForce organised Rally saw farmers and supporters form across the State gather as the changes to the bill are due before the current session of state parliament.
In what they describe as a last-minute bid to kill off the changes, protestors waved placards reading “Annastacia please listen”; “I am a farmer these laws affect me”; “Trad’s laws demonise farmers” and chanting “no way Palaszczuk”.
This will be Labor’s second attempt to bring in the new laws after failing to get them through the hung parliament in 2016.
The changes and new laws are expected to pass along party lines when put to the vote today.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and her MPs will vote against the vegetation management laws and has urged Labor MPs in the regions to take notice of the farmers and cross the floor to vote against the bill.
Katter Australia Party members have urged regional Labor members to do the same, warning a vote in favour of the bill will cost them their seats and will cost the ALP government.
Robbie Katter, says it’s obvious the government did not have a mandate from regional Queenslanders to force vegetation management laws through Parliament.
He says the changes will hurt Labor members from key agricultural seats such as Rockhampton, Keppel Gladstone, Thuringowa, Mundingburra and Townsville.
Federal Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan has also urged the State not to pass the new laws.
He says they potentially threaten high-value agriculture, devalues properties and criminalises farmers who are following sensible land-management practices.
“The legislation displays a city-centric outlook influenced by Greens policies and a complete lack of empathy for farmers. Like foresters and fishermen before them, farmers are now being demonised by some environmental activists – no longer portrayed as caring custodians of the land but rather as greedy wreckers of the environment.”
“The Queensland legislation runs counter to the spirit of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and Agricultural Competiveness.”
“This is another example of where an ideological stance by a State Government can stymie national ambition to further enhance the Australian economy and further develop Northern Australia in particular.”
“It is ironic the Palaszczuk Government is legislating to massively increase environmental “green tape” when the Turnbull-McCormack Government is searching for ways to do the exact opposite.”
Agriculture is a vital contributor to the Australian economy. Total farm production hit a record $63 billion in 2016-17.
Exports were worth $45 billion, led by beef and other meat, wheat, wool, dairy, wine and sugar.
Food exports were up by $3 billion, thanks to good rainfall and favourable growing conditions.
Mr Canavan adds…
“On May 7, the Labor faithful marching down Barcaldine’s main street shouldn’t be disappointed not too many farmers are cheering them on.”