Farmland protection groups have welcomed yesterday’s Queensland Government commitment to fast-track Strategic Cropping Land legislation through parliament by the end of the year.
The Coal4Breakfast group has been fighting to protect the productive alluvial soils of the Haystack Plain cropping area west of Dalby from a possible open-cut coal mining development for the past three years.
Group secretary Janelle Cox said members had endured a long, hard three years writing submissions and letters and attending delegations, meetings and peaceful demonstrations but yesterday’s announcement made the efforts worthwhile.
Coal4Breakfast group chairman Jeff Bidstrup said the World Health Organisation and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation were predicting that farmers would have to double food production in the next 40 years while reducing their surface footprint and water usage, and achieve this with reduced access to, and increased prices of, fertiliser and fuel.
“Meeting the global food challenge will become centre and fore in the next few years, and the Queensland Government can be rightfully proud that they have had the vision and courage to enact legislation that will be a template for governments all around Australia and the world,” Mr Bidstrup said.
“It is also pleasing to note that the LNP has agreed to support the bill, emphasising the importance of the challenge.”
Meanwhile, concerns that Queensland’s draft Strategic Cropping Land legislation could impose significant controls on on-farm developments in protected areas, as reported in Beef Central yesterday, have been challenged advocates of the legislation.
Friends of Felton spokesman Rob McCreath said the draft legislation states that State Planning Policy will not apply to the following development activities on Strategic Cropping Land:
(i) advertising device;
(ii) animal husbandry;
(iii) animal keeping;
(v) development that is for a single dwelling on a lot that does not contain an existing dwelling where no new lot has been created;
(vi) free range production systems;
(vii) infrastructure required for cropping on SCL;
(viii) intensive animal feedlotting;
(ix) intensive horticulture;
(xi) outdoor lighting;
(xii) roadside stalls;
(xiii) rural industry for the purposes of supporting agricultural practice undertaken on the subject lot with a maximumground floor area of 750 m²;
(xiv) small-scale permanent environmental plantings;
Yesterday’s Beef Central article highlighted concerns pulicly raised by Property Rights Australia chair Joanne Rea and Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham that SCL legislation could prevent landholders in protected areas from building more than one dwelling per lot, would restrict new sheds for the support of agriculture to 750m2, would prevent construction of swimming pools, tennis courts and other non-agricultural activity; and would prevent the construction of new buildings for animal keeping, which could rule out poultry sheds and piggeries.
Mr Creath said exemption vii (infrastructure required for cropping on SCL) indicated that the construction of agricultural sheds connected with cropping would be exempt.
Exemptions for development related to animal husbandry (ii) and animal keeping (iii) would also cover poultry and pig sheds, Mr McCreath believed.
The window for public submissions on the draft SCL legislation closes tomorrow, September 30. The draft SCL legislation can be viewed here