NEW maps detailing the extent of so-called ‘high-value regrowth vegetation’ and ‘reef regrowth watercourse vegetation’ have been rushed through as the Palaszczuk Government presses forward with its punitive new vegetation management laws.
The proposed new Category C (high-value regrowth) and Category R (reef regrowth) maps have been produced for all Queensland properties and can be accessed using lot and plan numbers through the Department of Natural Resources’ website: www.dnrm.qld.gov.au
Specialist agribusiness lawyer Ari McCamley, Thynne and Macartney, said landholders without a locked-in PMAV needed to carefully consider the proposed restrictions if they were planning to clear regrowth that would be reclassified as ‘high value regrowth’ or ‘reef regrowth’ if the new laws were passed.
“The intent is very clear that if passed, the laws will be retrospective from March 17,” Mr McCamley said.
“Landholders are being placed in the very difficult position that they need to be sure they are working with what could become the law, not just what is the law today."
Adding to the concern is that landholders charged with breaching the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed new laws would be faced with the draconian prospect of being automatically deemed as guilty and having to prove their innocence.
According to the explanatory notes attached to the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) Amendment Bill, the reverse onus of proof laws are desirable because they will reduce reduce enforcement costs.
“There is likely to be increased auditing and compliance activities by the Department of Natural Resources…,” the notes read. “There is likely to be a reduction in compliance costs by reinstating reverse onus of proof and removing mistake of fact provisions.”
The controversial bill is currently before parliament’s Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee which is scheduled to report on June 30.
AgForce president Grant Maudsley said it was important that the committee spent as much time as possible meeting with affected landholders during the next 12 weeks. “There are lots of issues that need to be heard and understood,” Mr Maudsley said. “The impacts of these unfair laws are far further reaching than just the rights to manage vegetation.”