Unsettled science highlights need for vegetation laws rethink

The “unsettled science” around the amount of vegetation growing in Queensland compared to how much is being cleared has led to new calls from AgForce for a rethink of proposed laws that would make it harder for farmers to grow food.
Farmland Australia
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the State Government is pushing ahead with harsh new vegetation management restrictions despite admitting they had only examined clearing rates not regrowth rates.

“Farmers love and care for their land, and need to manage vegetation and regrowth on their properties to sustainably produce the great food and fibre consumers demand.”

“The Queensland Government will make it harder for farmers to do their jobs and harder for farmers to create jobs by ramming through flawed laws based on studies that only look at half the picture.”

“AgForce has reiterated its stance of remaining willing to engage in a science and evidence-based processes on this issue.

But Mr Maudsley says the Government won’t.

“That means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation is growing, not just how much is cleared.”

Mr Maudsley says AgForce was requesting an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management, including determining what knowledge gaps existed in the research.

“The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations noted Australia is second only to China in reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area while the Federal Environment Department has noted ‘the area of land under forest in Australia is tending to increase’.”

“That same Federal Government report stated that clearing to maintain pasture and to manage regrowth ‘contribute negligible amounts of net greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term’.

“In addition, former Queensland Government scientist Dr Bill Burrows gave evidence to a recent Parliamentary hearing that ‘any releases of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as a result of clearing for vegetation management are more than offset by … grazed woodland thickening’”

“Enough is enough. We’re all in this together. Let’s find a long-lasting solution that delivers good outcomes for the environment and agriculture without strangling farmers in red tape.”