OPINION: IT seems Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham just can’t see the wood for the trees when it comes to mulga.
It is just patent nonsense to suggest that the Palaszczuk government’s vegetation management laws have not made it harder for drought stricken landholders to feed their starving livestock.
Yes, Dr Lynham is correct when he says landholders can push mulga to feed cattle during this hard hitting drought.
But Dr Lynham’s so called “mythbuster” statement issued this week is disturbingly misleading.
It is straight out political arrogance to be suggesting the problems faced by landholders are just myths.
It at best tells only half the truth and certainly does not hint at the added complexities that landholders must now endure.
At worse, the statement slaps down the people who spend all of the waking hours feeding and worrying about their sheep and cattle.
As AgForce president Grant Maudsley says, the tightening of the fodder harvesting code and the removal of the thinning code have meant more red tape for farmers.
"The area that farmers can harvest each time for fodder has been limited and may only last a few days or a week or two, while the width of the mulga strips farmers can push has reduced significantly,” Mr Maudsley said.
“This means farmers have to notify much more frequently and keep a lot more photographic evidence of what they are doing and when.”
Adding to the frustration is that the Queensland government's mapping continues to be wildly inaccurate, complex and constantly changing.
Farmers simply can't plan with certainty or confidence.
Instead of gaining a genuine on-the-ground appreciation of why the Palaszczuk government’s vegetation laws are failing in the mulgalands, Dr Lynham is picking fights.
Labor’s vegetation laws have always been more about appeasing the extreme green movement than they are about reflecting the practical realities of managing landscape systems in western Queensland.
Part of the problem is that 18 of the Palaszczuk government’s 20 ministers hold electorates in the Brisbane region. The other two are in urban areas in Townsville and Cairns. Dr Lynham’s own inner city electorate covers just 1900 hectares, hardly the size of decent paddock in South West Queensland.
The minister is clearly arguing ideology that has long been based on using tree clearing to belt the bush when it comes to securing votes for Labor in the city.
Despite the platitudes of supporting agriculture, no minister has a connection to rural Queensland, and certainly nothing strong enough the counter the extreme green influence that is embraced and encouraged by the Palaszczuk government.
Mulga is a fantastic resource. But it is only a fantastic resource if it is allowed to be managed it a way that reflects the practical realities of running a livestock enterprise in South West Queensland.
Fodder harvesting should be recognised as a genuine native forest practice and exempt under the Vegetation Management Act.
Dr Lynham would serve him far better if he was brutally honest with farmers. It is straight out political arrogance to be suggesting the problems faced by landholders are just myths.