With the new Queensland Parliament sitting for the first time this week, attention will no doubt turn to when the Palaszczuk government will introduce their promised new vegetation management laws.
The Premier and other Ministers have said the laws won’t be rushed through and there will be an opportunity for landholders to have a say, including in the regions, not just in Brisbane.
But what we don’t want is a façade of consultation and empty promises to listen to our views.
We want the ‘listening’ to be followed up with real action that addresses rural landholders’ concerns and ensures Queensland agriculture can achieve its full potential.
In 2016, the Agriculture and Environment Committee spent considerable time travelling throughout regional Queensland holding hearings on vegetation management and touring farms. The final report predictably saw Government MPs supporting the laws while non-Government MPs did not.
The sad reality of politics in Queensland means the committee process could be a farce, although it shouldn’t be.
While our detractors will focus on mistruths and misleading data sets that even the scientists acknowledge are one-sided, AgForce is willing to work on developing innovation solutions to complex policy problems.
For farmers, our business model is built on delivering on the triple bottom line of good and sustained economic, social and environmental outcomes.
It is in our interests to look after our land for future generations and it is in the interests of our local communities – and the state’s economy – that our businesses are productive and viable.
Farmers are sick and tired of vegetation management being a political ‘Groundhog Day’ issue and just want negotiations to be conducted in good faith to put it to bed once and for all.
The Palaszczuk Government has a once in a generation opportunity to show leadership and work genuinely with those most affected by these laws to come up with a long-lasting solution to a divisive issue.
Let’s see if they are up to the challenge.