AgForce is calling on the State Government to stop the grubby political tactics and instead provide producers with workable Vegetation Management mapping.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin says the media reports that the owners of Wombinoo Station have been fined for illegally clearing 132 hectares of land outside of the 2,700 hectares they were permitted to clear, highlights the need for a better approach.
“The owners of Wombinoo Station have worked closely with the department every step of the way through the permit process and were surprised to find out that they were being fined for illegal land clearing through the media.”
“It is common knowledge that there are significant issues with many of the Vegetation Management maps used by the Department of Natural Resources, mines and Energy and this makes it easy for landholders trying to act in good faith to inadvertently clear outside of permitted zones, even with the use of GPS technology.
“Combined with about 50 amendments over the life of the Vegetation Management framework, it is a full-time job trying to keep both up-to-date and compliant with the laws.”
Mr Guerin says the government moves highlight the urgent need to find a consistent, fair and practical approach for landholders to manage their land.
“Department official’s focus should be on working effectively with the landholders in the first instance, not to rush to report the allegations to the media which results in tarnishing the landholders and the industry’s reputation.”
“These producers have been dragged through the mud and subjected to arson attacks, vandalism and verbal and written abuse just for trying to provide food for family dinner tables.”
“The State Government’s own data confirms the vast majority of landholders are doing the right thing.”
The Federal Government confirmed on the 6th of December that “allegations of illegal land clearing, made against (the Jonsson family) by the Wilderness Society and reported by the ABC on 23 November 2017, were looked at by my department and dismissed as unfounded.”