AgForce is calling for a rethink on land use laws that have made it more complicated and difficult for farmers to feed their animals during times of drought.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley made the comments after the Queensland Parliament debated the Opposition’s motion to disallow new vegetation clearing code regulations.
“The leaves from mulga trees have long been used as emergency drought feed for sheep and cattle in western Queensland, but farmers now face more restrictions around this practice as a result of the QLD Government’s vegetation management laws,” he said.
“The tightening of the fodder harvesting code and the removal of the thinning code have meant more red tape for farmers to navigate and made it more difficult to grow grass to feed livestock.
“The area that farmers can harvest each time for fodder has been limited and may only last a few days or a week or two meaning more frequent notifications are required, while the width of the mulga strips farmers can push has reduced significantly.
“The Queensland Government’s blanket one-size-fits-all approach also doesn’t take into account that landholders have vastly different lot sizes, and the cover and density of mulga can vary considerably in different parts of the state.”
Mr Maudsley said the Queensland Government’s claims that little had changed didn’t match the reality of what farmers were facing on the ground when trying to understand and comply with the new rules.
“The new regulatory hoops farmers have to jump through are just not practical and workable on the ground, and the State Government hasn’t provided proactive support from extension officers to assist landholders to understand the changes,” he said.
“The whole process is much more time consuming and complicated at a time when drought-stricken farmers are working around the clock just to keep their stock alive.”
Mr Maudsley thanked the Opposition for raising this important issue in State Parliament and urged the QLD Government to rethink their approach to vegetation management.
“Farmers remain eager to work with all sides of politics on a long-term solution that delivers good outcomes for both agriculture and the environment,” he said.