Mulga: Labor denies drought stricken farmers

Labor leaves mulga wrapped in red tape


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FARMER BASHING: Labor has blocked an attempt to make it easier for farmers to feed mulga to starving livestock.

FARMER BASHING: Labor has blocked an attempt to make it easier for farmers to feed mulga to starving livestock.

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Labor has blocked an attempt to make it easier for farmers to feed mulga to starving livestock.

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THE Palaszczuk government has blocked an attempt to make it easier for drought stricken farmers to feed mulga to starving livestock.

Labor’s 47 members and Greens MP Michael Berkman sided to defeat the motion introduced in parliament, 48-43, on Tuesday night. The LNP Opposition, Katters, One Nation and independent MP Sandy Bolton voted in favour of the motion.

LNP Opposition natural resource management spokesman Dale Last said the disallowance motion was an attempt to amend the Vegetation Management Act, enabling farmers better access to the invaluable fodder resource.

All Labor MPs including Natural Resources Minister Lynham and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner voted against the motion.

All farmers are asking for is for Labor to reconsider their anti-farmer laws that deliberately get in their way and slow down their ability to allow livestock to feed on mulga. - Dale Last, LNP

“Premier (Annastacia Palaszczuk) and her Labor government have more than turned their backs on Queensland farmers,” Mr Last said.

“They’ve kicked them when they’re down.

“All farmers are asking for is for Labor to reconsider their anti-farmer laws that deliberately get in their way and slow down their ability to allow livestock to feed on mulga.”

However, Dr Lynham said the LNP was increasing stress on drought stricken farmers by misleading them about mulga harvesting.

“The harvesting of mulga for fodder remains legal,” he said.

“Fodder harvesting is still self-assessable, as it was before our changes to the Vegetation Management Act.

“It is irresponsible of them to make claims that are not true.”

RELATED STORY: ‘Mulga: Lynham just can’t see the wood for the trees’.

AgForce president Grant Maudsley said the Dr Lynham’s claims were misleading and didn't reflect the reality confronting farmers on the ground.

"There's no doubt the Palaszczuk government's vegetation management laws have made it harder for farmers to do their jobs, and that's the last thing they need in a drought," Mr Maudsley said.

"The tightening of the fodder harvesting code and the removal of the thinning code have meant more red tape for farmers to navigate and made it more difficult to grow grass to feed livestock.

"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. 

"The whole process is much more time consuming and complicated at a time when drought-stricken farmers are working around the clock just to keep their stock alive.

"While the Minister issues misleading media releases from his office in downtown Brisbane, the reality facing farmers trying to manage their land and look after their livestock in western Queensland is vastly different."

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said the LNP was ignoring the science of climate change and the science of vegetation management in asking parliament to disallow part of Labor’s tree-clearing laws.

“This government is committed to using science to guide the sustainable use of native vegetation for the benefits of Queenslanders now and into the future,” she said.

“The Palaszczuk government is unashamed in our commitment to evidence-based decision making to get the best result for all of Queensland.”

Mr Last said farmers used mulga as a last resort to feed their drought-affected herds.

“Mulga is highly resilient, drought-tolerant, and grows back quickly after being harvested as fodder,” he said.

“The Labor government’s decision not to get out of the way and allow our farmers to feed their livestock is a disgrace.”

More than 57 per cent of Queensland is drought-declared, including 23 council areas and four part-council areas.

RELATED STORY: ‘Drought stricken farmers dispute Lynham's mulga claims’.

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