SOUTH East Queensland's $200 million hardwood industry is pressing the Palaszczuk government to modify the Vegetation Management Act to ensure areas of private land can be permanently used for timber production.
Private Forestry Service Queensland executive officer Sean Ryan told a crowd of about 1000 people rallying in support of the hardwood industry in Maryborough on Sunday, that a Category F was needed to permanently lock in areas where farm forestry could be practiced.
Mr Ryan said the proposed Category F would identify areas where farm forestry could be practiced and trees could be managed accordingly.
"The mapping would be an alternative to both category X and the coloured, remnant categories currently found on vegetation mapping," Mr Ryan said.
Timber Queensland Mick Stephens also outlined a three point plan to extend the timber production from state owned land past 2024.
These measures included:
- Extending the state owned supply arrangements for a minimum of 10 years on a rolling basis to ensure a successful transition to sustainably managed private forests.
- Accelerate private native forestry management incentives and extension activities.
- Ensuring the native forest regulatory code remained a practical and cost effective tool for landholders to implement good management practices.
Under proposed new regulations landholders will be required to leave 300 trees a hectare compared to the current 150 stems. Landholders say overcrowding will prevent the trees from being able to grow in millable timber.
AgForce chief executive officer Michael Guerin said rural property development had always been about managing the balance between trees and grasses.
"Unfortunately, since the introduction of the Vegetation Management Act debacle in 1999 and the ensuing yo-yo in vegetation policy that continues to this day, the state has through its involvement, created a lack of certainty and a short-term mentality that you should take what you can, when you get it," Mr Guerin said.
"We know that virtually all of these forests are grazed and in simple terms, improving the forest management, increases the grazing capacity.
"Grazing and forestry can and do cohabitate. And for many of our beef producers, forestry can be the difference in what keeps them going during commodity slumps.
"Yet today we're arguing for that right.
"Today's message is simple. Listen to industry and the science before you make your decisions. Our regions need your certainty and consideration rather than contempt to survive."