Unsettled science calls for vegetation laws rethink says AgForce

AgForce: Unsettled vegetation science calls for laws rethink

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TREE LAWS: Queensland farmers have called for an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management.

TREE LAWS: Queensland farmers have called for an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management.

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Queensland farmers have called for an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management.

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FARMERS say an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management, including determining what knowledge gaps existed in the research, needs to be undertaken before the Palaszczuk Government brings draconian new laws into effect.

AgForce president Grant Maudsley said the Palaszczuk Government was pushing ahead with harsh new vegetation management restrictions despite admitting it had only examined clearing rates, not regrowth rates.

Mr Maudsley said the Palaszczuk Government would make it harder for farmers to do their jobs and harder for farmers to create jobs by ramming through flawed laws based on studies that only looked at half the picture.

"AgForce has always said we are willing to engage in a science and evidence based process on this issue, but that means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation is growing, not just how much is cleared," Mr Maudsley said.

"The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations noted Australia is second only to China in reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area while the Federal Environment Department has noted 'the area of land under forest in Australia is tending to increase',” he said.

"That same Federal Government report stated that clearing to maintain pasture and to manage regrowth 'contribute negligible amounts of net greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term'.

"In addition, former Queensland Government scientist Dr Bill Burrows gave evidence to a recent Parliamentary hearing that 'any releases of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as a result of clearing for vegetation management are more than offset by ... grazed woodland thickening'.”

Mr Maudsley said the differing reports highlighted why the Palaszczuk Government needed to rethink its flawed laws when more scientific work and analysis needed to be done.

"Enough is enough,” he said. “We're all in this together. Let's find a long-lasting solution that delivers good outcomes for the environment and agriculture without strangling farmers in red tape."

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