New Vegetation Codes Score a Fail

The new codes for the management of encroachment, weeds, and necessary environmental clearing have farmers up in arms after the release of three new vegetation management codes.

The three codes are part of a suite of 10 accepted development codes.

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AgForce vegetation management committee chairman John te Kloot says the moves just don’t make sense.

“Most of the encroachment is happening in central Queensland where the leases are often 12,000 to 15,000 hectares.”

“The reasons given that management will be limited to 400ha and a two-year time frame will enable the department to better monitor landholders, and landholders will be forced to more regularly check with the department about any changes to regulations.

“They are not reasons. The department already has almost real time monitoring with its satellites and can send a letter or email if any changes to regulations occur. And why shouldn’t it be a percentage of the lease, given the areas involved.”

“What the government doesn’t want to understand is that encroachment is a cancer on the land. Landholders should be able to restore it back to the grasslands”.

Mr te Kloot is also critical of the reintroduction of rules that prevented the removal of mature trees.

“It is the mature trees that create the seed bank. If we can’t solve the problem, then encroachment will be a never-ending problem.”

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham says the codes have been reviewed by scientists from the Queensland Herbarium, and the CSIRO had reviewed their work.

“The updates include sensible changes such as simplified definitions and clearer time frames. We’ve always acted on good science.”

The Minister says his department would provide information about the proposed code changes to all landholders who had notified about clearing under the latest three codes and the remaining six codes would be released over the next six months.