More than 400 people spilled out of the Charleville Town Hall to listen to 16 local graziers, businessman and scientists give evidence at the public hearing into vegetation management.
The speakers utilised all of their limited two hour session to notify the committee of the financial, environmental and mental impacts the new laws will have on their region.
They suggested the current self-assessable codes remain in place and move away from putting all of Queensland’s differing vegetation under ‘one box’.
Below are a few key quotes from some of the speakers featured today…
Robyn Bryant, Cunnyana, Mitchell
“Bringing back the tree police and tripling the fine may give the government more confidence in the system, however, it just indicates a lack of respect for the majority of landholders.
“On numerous occasions Labor has suggested agriculture has thrived under a decade of tree clearing laws as quoted by Mr Lynham. However I can assure you that because of the skill, knowledge and passion of people involved in the agricultural industry, agriculture has thrived despite of the Labor Government.
“Agriculture is being asked to grow a $30 billion industry to a $100 billion industry over the next 12 years. This cannot be achieved with laws that stifle development and ultimately diminish growth. It’s about time the government put aside its political agenda around trees and focused on the whole landscape, this includes the people that live in it.”
Lisa Lonsdale, Agribusiness specialist
“Loan approvals from financiers have been based on projected cashflows on the amount of fodder that was available through mulga on these properties. Financiers did approvals knowing that if it didn’t rain properly for 12 months that their clients with thinning approvals would allow them enough fodder for another 12 months...without selling off valuable breeding stock.
“We are renowned for clean green produce and that’s why other countries are so keen to access it. I find it bewildering that if foreign markets and investments can see the potential in Queensland yet our government can not.
“What is being proposed is essentially forcing drought on these producers. It's wiping the balance sheet by a third or more overnight.”
Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health’s Pat Fraser
“Our traditional ancestors used to actually burn mulga and to me it’s (the management) just carried onto the landholders today.
“As a community member we rely on the landowners, we rely on the income that comes in to the community, it also makes this community work. If we lost the landowners our community would die. Isn’t the Labor Government all about being fair? Why pick on a community that is already struggling.”
Scott Sargood, Halton, Charleville
Mr Sargood was asked what would be the maximum number of mulga trees he would need to be able to clear to stay operational. He said there was a great need for self-assessable codes due to the changing seasons.
"Well it doesn't work like that...We know when drought starts, we don't know when it will end.
"I've never been able to not work out anything in my life, it's the people I'm working with who can't work it out.”
Cameron Tickell, Rylstone, Charleville
"We have to manage the mulga, the problem is it keeps coming back. We are doing it to keep the biodiveristy of the land in tact. The mulga keeps regrowing.”
Rob Moore, Grassmere, Mitchell
"Every second advert on T.V is about beyond blue, lifeline, black dog...these vegetation acts are sinister, sleazy and just plain bullying.
“My concern is for the human species out here. 240 plus on the dole here in Charleville, most of them in their prime years. Nothing but boredom, drugs etc. What same government would put the likes of me and my contractor and his staff in the same position?”
Dr Ian Beale, grazier and former member of Charleville Pastoral Laboratory
"My experience is in under 600mm rainfall and there is no way will I act as an expert with areas of more rainfall. What seems to be going on with the vegetation management act is people who aren't abiding by that."
Richard Bucknell, Calooma, Dirranbandi
"As a rural community we really are the political punching bag"