David Rolfe was one of 600 people to make a submission to the State Government.
David Rolfe was one of 600 people to make a submission to the State Government. Tobi Loftus

Farmers fear future with land clearing legislation

NORTH Burnett farmers have said proposed changes to the vegetation management act would be against the best interests of the region.

In a public submission to the Environment and Agriculture Committee, Bembridge Agricultural owner David Rolfe said the legislation was biased.

"As a past president of the Central Burnett Land Management Advisory Group and of the Burnett Catchment Care Association, I have seen the results of both poor and improved landscape management," Mr Rolfe said.

"The proposed legislation changes only apply to agriculture, not urban or industrial development nor mining.

"With greater than 70% of Queensland's wealth being generated in rural and regional areas, this is clearly biased and works against the best interests of the state."

Monto farmer Neville Williams said he believed the changes would make agriculture impossible.

"I have never believed in wholesale clearing of the timber, but have endeavoured over the years to selectively thin the timber to promote the growth of the better quality timber and pasture growth for my grazing herd," he said.

"If these changes... are forced on us I fear for the future of my family in agriculture. These laws will make my country worthless."

Eidsvold landowners Stuart and Patricia Leahy said the constant changing nature of the laws impacted on their ability to make decisions.

"Our overriding issue with the Bill is that its introduction represents yet another variation to the vegetation management framework, which has been amended over 18 times since its introduction in 1999," they said.

"This constant change in legislation severely impacts on the ability of farm managers to plan and implement effective long-term property and business management decisions."

But environmental group members like Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council manager Casey Murtagh praised the proposed changes.

"The WBBEC strongly urge the Agriculture and Environment Parliamentary Committee to pass this Bill as quickly as possible to allow Queensland's forests the protection they desperately need to prevent further irreparable damage to our environment, our climate and the Great Barrier Reef," Ms Murtagh said.



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