A PARLIAMENTARY committee charged with reviewing the Palaszczuk government’s new vegetation management laws has recommended the controversial laws be passed.
The 147 page report tabled tonight by the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee comes despite 13,000 submissions and more than 1000 landholders protesting the new laws.
The six member committee is dominated by its three Labor MPs, with the chair having an additional casting vote. The three LNP members on the committee handed down a dissenting report opposing the legislation.
Committee chair Chris Whiting (ALP, Bancroft) said it had been heartening to see the high level of engagement over the bill.
“We have received over 13,000 submissions, conducted eight public hearings across the state and heard from almost 130 witnesses,” Mr Whiting said.
“Whilst the submissions and witnesses have shown strong opinions on this bill, it augers well that Queenslanders are prepared to be involved in their Parliamentary processes.”
The report is cold comfort for Queensland farmers who were hoping to reduce the impact of the controversial new laws, which effectively ban the development high value agriculture in Queensland and significantly increase red tape associated with day to day vegetation management practices.
The report’s eight recommendations include considering the appointment of additional extension officers, investing the higher charges to be imposed on landholders, and increasing the level of education to landholders through the use of fact sheets.
LNP Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the committee’s report was a farce.
“Every landholder in Queensland was telling the Palaszczuk government to apply common sense and common decency,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Instead the government is pushing ahead with no substantive changes to the legislation when it is clear these laws do not work.
“Worse still the Palaszczuk government is choosing to ignore the fact that the science is not settled when in comes to vegetation growth rates.”
AgForce has also condemned the report saying they were angry and bitterly disappointed by the committee’s recommendation to pass the vegetation management laws without any changes.
AgForce president Grant Maudsley said the laws are the worst of both worlds.
“The changes will make it harder for farmers to grow food and fibre, shut down agricultural development opportunities and lead to worse not better environmental outcomes," Mr Maudsley said.
"There were thousands of click and flick submissions from supporters of the laws but the nearly 1000 submissions from rural landholders were heartfelt and personal accounts outlining how the laws would affect their lives and livelihoods.
"These pleas appears to have been completely ignored by Labor MPs on the committee who have shown how completely wedded they are to political agendas and how far removed they are from the realities of food and fibre production.
The farm group has organised a day of protest outside Parliament House in Brisbane and a virtual protest online to coincide with the resumption of parliament on Tuesday.
The story Vegetation laws review ignores farmers | Read the report first appeared on Queensland Country Life.