Dark day for Queensland Agriculture

The controversial Vegetation Management Laws have passed state parliament overnight.

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The sweeping changes to tree clearing laws was passed in a fiery session of the House the bill passed along party lines.

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham says the changes return the ban on land clearing to a position under the Beattie government where the state could protect the environment while allowing farms to thrive.

“It was due to Labor’s vegetation management reforms that Australia was able to meet its Kyoto targets for reducing carbon pollution.”

The Opposition and Farmers say will undermine agricultural and drive up the cost of food.

AgForce Queensland says today is a dark day for Queensland agriculture.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the laws will see new agricultural development opportunities shut down and sustainable food and fibre production will be more complex and costly.

“Agriculture is the social and economic fabric of many Queensland regional and rural communities and the impact of these laws would be felt far beyond the farm gate. Farmers love and care for their land and only manage vegetation to sustainably produce the great food and fibre that consumers in Australia and overseas demand.”

“These laws are the worst of both worlds. The changes make it harder for farmers to grow food and deliver worse not better environmental outcomes. It’s a real kick in the guts for the next generation of farmers who want to expand and grow their businesses but have now had their futures stolen away from them.”

“One thing is for sure – this is not over. This is the beginning, not the end. Vegetation management has been divisive for two decades and the Palaszczuk Government had an opportunity to develop a long-lasting solution, but they squandered it and rammed through flawed laws that just guarantee the political ping pong will continue.”

“We’re not going to cop this. We’re going to keep fighting until we get fair and balanced laws that deliver good outcomes for agriculture and the environment without strangling farmers in red tape.

“It’s pretty simple – if farmers can’t feed their own families, they can’t feed yours. We’re all in this together, we all eat food, we all wear clothes, and we all care for the environment.”

“The Palaszczuk Government ignores at their peril the tsunami of support farmers are receiving from people of all walks of life from all over Queensland – city and country.”

Mr Maudsley says AgForce had always maintained a willingness to take part in a science and evidence-based approach that looked at all the facts, including how much vegetation has grown, not just how much has been cleared.