The ALP candidate for the seat of Warrego says he won’t support the Premier’s move to re-introduce previously defeated land-clearing legislation until ‘inaccuracies’ in mapping and clearing figures are resolved.
Premier Annastacia Palasczczuk today confirmed she would reintroduce the vegetation management bill if Labor won the next election. Full story here.
But the ALP candidate for Warrego and former popular Murweh Shire Mayor, Mark O’Brien, said the current laws were “adequate”.
He pledged to be “loud and long inside a Labor government on vegetation management” if elected on November 25.
“Earlier this year proposed laws were ignorant of the fact that much of the supposed ‘tree clearing’ is actually harvesting regrowth, which in large part, is good for the environment,” he said.
“I have pointed this out to the author of a nationally distributed science magazine and they have agreed to be more circumspect in their descriptions in future.
“I am aware of inaccuracies in mapping that is used in this area and shortcomings in the benchmark years used for RE definitions that must be able to change over time.
“So, my position is that the current laws are adequate until the above matters can be resolved and agreed between industry, science and government, an agreement I know can be achieved.
“I have a preference for vegetation management laws that are bio region specific so that local issues associated with say, the reef, are not lumped on large agricultural areas like ours.”
Mr O’Brien said he “completely agreed” with a recent statement by AgForce general president, Grant Maudsley, that ‘farmers are the best environmentalists ‘.
Mr O’Brien is the independent chair of the South West NRM Ltd and is based in Charleville.
“That certainly has been my experience over the last 30 years living in South West Queensland and working closely with graziers especially with cluster fencing,” he said.
“It is my desire to have this contentious issue resolved and not used as a political football every time an election comes around.
“The environment should not be subjected to the slings and arrows of election cycles. As the Member for Warrego I would make this a priority.”
Mr O’Brien is standing against the sitting LNP member, Ann Leahy who won the seat at the 2015 election with a margin of 15.4 per cent.
The seat has been held continuously by the National Party/LNP since 1974. Fellow former Maranoa mayor, Robert Loughnan has also nominated and will stand for Katter’s Australia Party. Full story here.