ONLY hours after walking away from the $16.5 billion Adani mining project, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has again turned her sights on farmers.
Flanked by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles, the trio stuck to the leafy suburbs of greater Brisbane to launch Labor’s vegetation management policy.
Titled Saving Habitat, Protecting Wildlife and Restoring Land: Ending broadscale tree clearing in Queensland, the policy launch in Daisy Hill Conservation Park appeared to be more about refocusing Labor-aligned extreme green groups than any genuine attempt to engage with farmers.
How can we properly look at carbon farming options when the Queensland Government doesn't even know or want to know how much vegetation is regrowing year on year?
Front and centre are Labor’s controversial amendments to the Vegetation Management Act championed by Ms Trad and Dr Miles, which were rejected by parliament in August 2016.
The sweetener is the promise of a $500 million Land Restoration Fund. Not surprisingly, skeptical farm groups say they have not been involved in the development of the unfunded plan and are still to see the detail.
AgForce president Grant Maudsley said Labor's flawed land management laws had already rightly been rejected by the Queensland Parliament.
If adopted, the laws would result in fewer regional job and development opportunities in areas crying out for more jobs, he said.
"Farmers have only ever asked for balanced and sensible vegetation management laws so we can provide food for family dinner tables across Australia and throughout the world," Mr Maudsley said.
"Farming families care about their land and know how to manage it responsibly. Farming is a difficult enough job as it is, we don't need politicians adding to the difficulties we face.
"Today's announcement shows Labor is more interested in green politics than good policy. AgForce will continue to oppose such poor and one-sided policy."
Ms Palszczuk said unsustainable land clearing was a threat to Queensland’s wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef and the climate.
She said the Land Restoration Fund would kick start a new land management industry which promises to contribute as much as $8 billion annually to Queensland’s economy by 2030.
The Land Restoration Fund would reward Queensland landholders and primary producers for reducing emissions, she said.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said a re-elected Palaszczuk Government would drive down excessive clearing rates, support a sustainable and prosperous agricultural sector and spearhead new economic and environmental opportunities.
“We will support projects that sequester carbon, restore valuable habitat, repair riparian vegetation and improve water quality,’’ Ms Trad said.
Mr Maudsley said Labor's policy would cause enormous damage in regional and rural communities, leading to fewer local job opportunities and accelerating population drift to the cities.
"Locking up farmers' land will mean a significant loss of income and that means less money circulating throughout towns in the bush," he said.
"These harsh and unnecessary laws would have an immediate impact on regional and rural communities, while any proposed alternative revenue streams from a carbon fund may take years to eventuate and would likely only partly offset producers' losses.
"If you are a primary producer in north Queensland, where there is so much potential for sustainable agricultural development, you want to be able to grow your business and develop your land, not lock it up for carbon."
Mr Maudsley said Labor were doubling down on the flawed reasoning behind their policy by proposing an annual release and national expansion of the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study, which only tells half the story.
"How can we properly look at carbon farming options when the Queensland Government doesn't even know or want to know how much vegetation is regrowing year on year?" he said.
LNP natural resources spokesman Andrew Cripps said Labor was painting farmers as environmental vandals in a bid to win green votes in the south-east corner.
“It’s shameful,” Mr Cripps said. “Annastacia Palaszczuk is happy to kick struggling farmers and turn a blind eye to the ranting of her left wing cabinet colleagues because she knows she needs to win seats in the city to save her own job.
“Clearly she’s more interested in green preferences than the truth.”