THE Palaszczuk Government has been accused of using bureaucracy to grind vegetation management to a halt in Queensland.
AgForce president Grant Maudsley said the fact that not a single application for thinning had been made highlighted that the new vegetation management laws were a “miserable policy and a miserable failure”.
The slowdown is detailed in information provided by Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham in response to a question on notice made by the LNP in parliament. Dr Lynham said only 10 of 16 applications had been approved. Seven of those applications related to clearing for fences, firebreaks, roads, tracks, or built infrastructure.
“Farmers warned these changes would be unworkable, but the Palaszczuk Government didn’t listen and failed to recognise the complex interaction between fodder harvesting and thinning codes,” he said.
“Thinning is the selective removal of trees to prevent thickening, promote native grass growth and ensure a good environmental and productive balance.
“It is an important everyday practice and audits under the previous code demonstrated landholders were effectively abiding by the regulations, yet the Palaszczuk Government has taken away a perfectly workable solution and made it virtually impossible.”
Mr Maudsley said the lack of coordinated project applications and the banning of high value agriculture permits had exacerbated drought conditions by stopping producers growing fodder to see them through tough times.
“We now having charities stepping in because of government policy failure,” he said.
“These laws have imposed a red tape nightmare on farmers, shut down new job-creating agricultural development opportunities and will lead to environmental degradation across our landscapes.
“AgForce continues to call on the Queensland Government to work with farmers to come up with a long-lasting solution that delivers good outcomes for both agriculture and the environment.”
LNP Opposition natural resources spokesman Dale Last said Labor had deliberately made the application process overly bureaucratic, burdensome and costly.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s anti-farmer laws are putting regional jobs and our future food security at risk,” Mr Last said.
“It is clear that Labor’s anti-farmer agenda is strangling agricultural development and putting local jobs in the bush at risk at the same time Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
“Farmers aren’t even bothering with the paperwork.
“The Liberal National Party has consistently opposed Labor’s anti-farmer vegetation laws, which have thrown scientific consensus out the window to appease a radical ideological agenda.”