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Tree Clearing Laws Will Only Hurt Farmers

Laws to limit tree clearing in Queensland reintroduced to State Parliament by the Palaszczuk Labor Government are designed to attract city-based green voters and will only make life more difficult for farmers, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 was necessary to “end the levels of broadscale clearing that the LNP legislation created”.

But Creevey Russell Partner Damian Bell said the tree clearing laws were defeated by the previous parliament and should be rejected again.

“The Queensland Government is playing politics and trying to win over the green vote when they should be working with farmers to find solutions,” he said.

Mr Bell said the Government’s new Bill has compromised on some areas that were in the original legislation including a reverse on the unfair onus on landholders to prove they had not been illegally clearing.

The new laws have been sent to the Natural Resources and Agricultural Committee, which will report back to parliament on April 23.

Mr Bell said while the laws will please environmental groups, farmers fear for their future.

“There are genuine concerns the Palaszczuk Government’s laws won’t achieve balance and instead just make it harder for farmers to do their job and stop sustainable development,” he said.

In 2013, the LNP Newman government changed the law to make it easier for farmers to clear their land. Labor after it won government in 2015 vowed to change the laws but a bill to do so was defeated in August, 2016, after failing to gain the support of independent MP Billy Gordon.

Mr Bell said any landholders requiring advice on the impact of the land clearing legislation should contact Creevey Russell Lawyers on 07 4617 8777.

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