Twenty local stakeholders stood before the Agriculture and Environment Committee today, and one by one they gave their views on the State Governments reinstated vegetation management Bill.
The huge crowd who turned up is a clear indication of the concern this Bill is causing.
Glenn Butcher, State Member for Gladstone and Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, says the issues raised today were not dissimilar to those raised across Northern and Central Queensland.
“Obviously there are a lot of issues that farmers’ see with the proposal of the Bill, particularly with the onus of proof.
“Mapping has also been another big issue and that was loud and clear here today that the mapping has been incorrect in certain circumstances and not only wrong by little bits, it can be out by kilometres,” says Mr Butcher.
The public hearings have provided valid feedback particularly surrounding Property Map of Assessable Vegetation (PMAV) and the reinstatement of the onus of proof.
“Those are the two clear ones, but some other stuff that we’re hearing along the way is pertinent to each persons property.
“Part of the the hearing is gathering this information and then what we’ll do from here is go back and collate that information and come up with some recommendations,” says MP Butcher.
One of the big issues that arose in the Charleville hearing was how the reinstated Bill could hinder young people from returning to the land.
“What we have heard, quite loud and clear, is that people think this law will effect the future for oncoming land owners.
“After two weeks on the road we’ve got some good information and hopefully we can go back and make some good recommendations,” says MP Butcher.
Unfortunately the committee did not have time to fit in visits to local properties, but Mr Butcher says the northern leg of the tour which saw four property visits, gave the committee a good insight into the problems western Queensland graziers and farmers are up against.
“It is great to get out and about, particularly in regional Queensland, because this is where the main issues are so it would be pointless doing a coastal run as other committees have done.
“The landowners that we’ve visited in this trip have been very amicable, no one has got aggressive, no one has got upset and that’s fantastic,” he says.
There will be a public hearing held in Roma this afternoon before the committee travel back to Brisbane to meet with the major players on both sides of story for the final public hearing.
Recommendations of the tour will be provided to the the House by 30th June, 2016.