THE state’s first development permit for fodder clearing under Queensland’s controversial new vegetation management laws has been granted.
The permit covers an area of about 70,000 hectares and involves country held by three adjoining landholders in the Quilpie/Adavale region.
Greg Windsor, who owns the majority of the land within the permit area, said he now had critical security and certainty over his mulga fodder reserves.
“In the permit areas, I now don’t have to worry about the ever-changing vegetation laws or whether I’m going to have feed for my cattle during this drought or the next,” Mr Windsor said.
Leichardt Group principal Scott Kostecki, who prepared the breakthrough application, said the latest round of amendments to the Vegetation Management Act had badly impacted on landowners who relied on regenerative remnant fodder trees such as mulga.
“There has been significant uncertainty and anger regarding the implementation of the new vegetation management legislation, including the fodder clearing legislation and codes, and the fact that their voices were ignored in the parliamentary committee process,” Mr Kostecki said.
“It is a very difficult period for drought-stricken landowners who are not only dealing with the ongoing and extended drought, but the latest round of newly introduced vegetation laws, which have affected the flexibility and certainty of accessing crucial drought fodder reserves.”
Landowners have two options when applying to clear fodder in remnant areas. The first is a development approval. The second is a free formal notification to the Department of Natural Resources under the Accepted Development Clearing Code for Fodder.
Under the free notification, there is a maximum allowable clearing limit of 200ha per lot in defined areas, followed by a self-audit confirming their own compliance, before being able to apply again.
Mr Kostecki said for many landowners the current accepted development clearing code for fodder was simply impractical.
“Landowners probably aren’t aware, but the government can amend the accepted development clearing codes at any time without any requirement for parliamentary process,” Mr Kostecki said.
“In fact, they are currently under review. However it would be very surprising to see any significant change to fodder harvesting while the drought persists. This is about politics not practicality.”
Mr Kostecki said the Quilpie/Adavale permit had been granted without an end date.
“It proves that some certainty over fodder management in perpetuity can be achieved,” he said. “This provides significant certainty for landowners in managing their fodder reserves as part of their normal practices.”
- The Leichardt Group was previously known as Devine Agribusiness.