New vegetation management laws threaten Queensland’s status as the number one agricultural state in the country by making it harder and more expensive for farmers to grow food, AgForce said.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said Queensland produced almost a quarter of Australia’s food and fibre and edged ahead of New South Wales and Victoria in the Agricultural Census in 2017, but the proposed new laws put our industry’s future prosperity at risk.
“These laws will put more restrictions on how farmers manage their land to produce food, shut down new agricultural development and lead to perverse environmental outcomes that could damage rather than improve regional landscapes,” he said.
The proposed changes stifle Queensland’s agricultural growth by:
- Scrapping the process for High-Value Agriculture (HVA) and Irrigated High-Value Agriculture (IHVA) development applications;
- Including any vegetation that hasn’t been managed for 15 years in the definition of High Value Regrowth; and
- Replacing self-assessable vegetation management codes with the need to gain approval under an Accepted Development code.
Mr Maudsley said the Queensland Government was now forcing farmers to lodge development applications for routine practices like managing thickened vegetation and was also introducing new $3130 fees.
“The QLD Government is strangling farmers in red tape and treating them like cash cows while at the same time reducing the income earning capacity of their land and making it harder to ensure the right balance of trees and grass,” he said.
“Everyone with a backyard knows you have to mow your lawn and weed your garden or it becomes overgrown, and farmers have to regularly manage the vegetation growing on their land too.
“Farmers love and care for their land and know how to manage it responsibly, so why does the Government want to make their jobs more difficult?”
Mr Maudsley congratulated the thousands of Queenslanders who had written submissions, attended public hearings and rallied to highlight the damage these laws will do to the state’s economy, regional communities, farming families and our rural landscapes.
“We’re all in this together. We all eat food and we all care for our environment. And if farmers can’t feed their own families, they can’t feed yours,” he said.
“That’s why we’re calling on the Government to stop trying to ram these flawed laws through as quickly as possible and instead work on a long-lasting solution that delivers good outcomes for both agriculture and the environment.”