New vegetation codes ‘fail farmers’

Farmers say new vegetation codes fail landscape


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RED TAPE: New codes for the management of encroachment, weeds, and necessary environmental clearing have left farmers angry.

RED TAPE: New codes for the management of encroachment, weeds, and necessary environmental clearing have left farmers angry.

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New codes for the management of encroachment, weeds, and necessary environmental clearing have left farmers angry.

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FARMERS have reacted angrily to the release of three new vegetation management codes by the Palaszczuk government.

The criticism comes as landholders have been asked to state their views on updated guidelines for the management encroachment, weeds, and necessary environmental clearing. 

However, in a move reminiscent of the Beattie/Bligh administrations, landholders do not appear to have been consulted prior to the release of the new regulations.

AgForce vegetation management committee chairman John te Kloot said the encroachment code was limited to just 400 hectares and had a two year time limit.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Mr te Kloot said.

“Most of the encroachment is happening in central Queensland where the leases are often 12,000 to 15,000 hectares. 

What the government doesn’t want to understand is that encroachment is a cancer on the land. - John te Kloot, AgForce

“The reasons given that management will be limited to 400ha and a two year time frame will enable the department to better monitor landholders, and landholders will be forced to more regularly check with the department about any changes to regulations.

“They are not reasons. The department already has almost real time monitoring with its satellites and can send a letter or email if any changes to regulations occur. And why shouldn’t it be a percentage of the lease, given the areas involved. 

“What the government doesn’t want to understand is that encroachment is a cancer on the land. Landholders should be able to restore it back to the grasslands.”

Mr te Kloot was also critical of the reintroduction of rules that prevented the removal of mature trees.

“It is the mature trees that create the seed bank,” he said. “If we can’t solve the problem, then encroachment will be a never ending problem.”   

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk government had promised to keep the codes as long as they stood up to scientific review. 

The codes were reviewed by scientists from the Queensland Herbarium, and the CSIRO had reviewed their work, he said.

“The updates include sensible changes such as simplified definitions and clearer time frames.

“We’ve always acted on good science.”

The three codes are part of a suite of 10 accepted development codes. The codes allow landholders to self-assess their activities and don’t require approvals.

Landholders are, however, required to notify the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Dr Lynham said his department would provide information about the proposed code changes to all landholders who had notified about clearing under the latest three codes.

He said the remaining six codes would be released over the next six months.

CLICK HERE to have your say until October 19.

The Charleville-based veg hub can be contacted on 135 834.

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