After a seven year reprieve Queensland’s primary producers are again under attack for their commitment to making their land as productive, profitable and sustainable as possible.
The turmoil caused by Labor’s 2009 ban on clearing regrowth vegetation has again reared its ugly head, causing landholders to question the state government’s allegiances and respect for Queensland’s primary production.
Brian Atkins, Rarcamba, Wandoan, has fifty years experience in land management and said the guidelines set out by the Beattie, Bligh and now Palaszcuk governments were uninformed.
Mr Atkins said the reinstatement of tight tree clearing regulations undermined land holders’ integrity and would devastate primary production.
“These documents were designed by educated idiots. As soon as you put someone in control in a high profile position without experience and some sensibility you’ve got big problems,” he said.
“It will be devastation for production in Queensland and considering the mining downturn they seem to have forgotten what the rural industry contributes to the economy.”
The Atkins family were preparing to undertake regrowth control on their Taroom property this week, prompting Mr Atkins to reflect on his decades of land management.
He said a blanket management approach to vegetation management was the worst direction government could take.
“I’ve seen lots of different attempts at cleaning up country, some poorly executed and some highly successful and it comes down to the diversity of the landscape and learning from mistakes,” he said.
“A one way highway for vegetation management in Queensland is impractical, but we’re preaching to the converted.
“We’ve seen it all before and the feeling among landholders is mutual- government do not want to listen and these discussions are playing lip service in a game with consequences far bigger than winning a few votes.”
Mr Atkins said he would invite a Green party member to suggest a reasonable and sustainable management plan for regrowth vegetation.
“I can guarantee you I could tear it to shreds for all the thought and knowledge they would have on the issue,” he said.
“I would ask them what they planned to do with it. Are they going to lock it up and make no money out of it or are they going to feed people with it- I don’t think they’d have an answer.”
Mr Atkins said passing the tree laws seriously threatened the sustainability of Queensland’s agricultural industry.
“I would think production could go down by 30 to 40 per cent on all types of country,” he said.
“If you get two years where cattle aren’t worth money, you’ve had dry seasons and you haven’t got the cash flow to do the control it becomes impossible to get ahead.”
Source – Queensland Country Life