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Report exposes serious flaws with land laws: AgForce

Beef Central, 01/07/2016

AgForce has called for proposed changes to vegetation management laws to be dumped in the wake of a report exposing serious flaws with the laws and deep divisions in the Queensland Parliament.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the release of the Agriculture and Environment Committee’s report hardened AgForce’s resolve to keep campaigning for “fair laws for farmers”.

“The Parliamentary committee was split down the middle as expected with Government members toeing the party line in support of the laws and non-Government members opposed to the changes,” he said.

“The report does however expose serious flaws such as how the proposed laws would trample on landholders’ property rights, how wildly inaccurate Departmental mapping is and the ‘limited’ consultation for laws that would have such ‘significant impacts’.

“Reversing the onus of proof would have made farmers guilty until they prove their innocence, so dumping that element of the laws is welcome, but it’s a Clayton’s compromise that was always going to happen and is just one of many bad elements of the Bill.

“The State Government still appears set to push ahead with removing the ‘mistake of fact’ defence, despite acknowledging the inaccuracy of their vegetation mapping. This means that if farmers clear land based on a wrong map, it is farmers who cop the blame not Government.

“AgForce maintains that these proposed laws will drive up food prices and stifle regional development, and should be scrapped altogether not just tinkered with around the edges.

“If the Palaszczuk Government was serious about job creation in regional Queensland, they would hit the reset button and start the process again.

“AgForce has always said we are willing to work through a science and evidence based process on this legislation.

“We want fair laws for farmers that provide certainty and stand the test of time. We want fair laws for farmers that allow us to get on with the job of producing high quality food and fibre.”

A copy of the committee’s report is available on the Queensland Parliament website at:http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2016/5516T1029.pdf

More information and videos of farmers speaking about how the Palaszczuk Government’s vegetation management laws will affect them is available at www.fairlawsforfarmers.com

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