Holswich Welcomes Overhaul of Vegetation Management Rules

21/03/2013

The Newman LNP Government today unveiled plans to make the most significant reforms to legislation affecting agricultural production in almost 20 years.

Member for Pine Rivers, Mr Seath Holswich, welcomed the package of reforms, which promises to
boost food production, and deliver jobs and economic benefits for the rural sector and regional communities across Queensland.

"The amendments proposed in the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill 2013, which was introduced in Parliament today, will allow sustainable vegetation management activities to occur to support the development of high value agriculture in areas with appropriate land and climate characteristics," Mr Holswich said.

"The Newman Government has made it clear that it plans to double the value of agricultural production in Queensland by 2040, and these reforms are a vital component to achieving that goal."

"We are closing the chapter on 20 years of Labor over-regulation of vegetation management activities."

Mr Holswich said the amendments will restore a long-overdue balance to Queensland's vegetation management framework, while retaining key environmental protections.

"Consecutive Labor Governments had, in the past, enforced radical green policies upon landholders that threatened their ability to effectively manage their businesses and maintain productivity," Mr Holswich said.

"These reforms aim to address that issue, and grant landholders more freedom to operate as responsible stewards of their land."

"The introduction of self-assessable codes for routine vegetation management activities, such as weed and pest management, fodder harvesting and thinning, will save landholders time and money, while still requiring them to abide by a code stipulating sustainable land management practices."

"We are creating the opportunity for farming businesses to expand cropping operations and build necessary infrastructure without the burden of unnecessary regulation."

Mr Holswich stressed that environmental values would be protected through these reforms.
"While the Bill proposes to remove regulations regarding regrowth control on freehold and Indigenous land, these regulations will still apply to leasehold land and in reef watercourses.

"These reforms do not mean landholders can indiscriminately clear land."

"Inappropriate vegetation management practices that show no regard for the environment will not be supported."

Key reforms proposed under the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill 2013 include:

• The introduction of new clearing purposes under the Act for high-value agriculture and environmental works (such as land rehabilitation)
• The removal of regrowth regulations on freehold and indigenous land, but the retention of controls on regrowth control on leasehold land and in reef watercourses
• New provisions to allow for the creation of self-assessable codes for routine management activities such as weed and pest management, fodder harvesting and thinning
• The creation of simplified statewide vegetation maps to clearly define areas where regulations will apply
• The removal of the guide to sentencing under the existing Vegetation Management Act to ensure more consistent and equitable penalties in cases of inappropriate clearing

More information on the amendments and how to make submissions to the Parliamentary Committee is available under Vegetation Management at: www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/home