CA submits report on Queensland vegetation law
Cotton Australia's Agriculture & Environment Committee's report into the Queensland government's controversial Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (2016) has made five recommendations to government.
It has asked the government to explain the consultation process to be undertaken with stakeholders and improve the accuracy of vegetation mapping and engage with landholders to ensure accuracy. It recommended reversing the onus of proof in relation to vegetation clearing offences.
Cotton Australia also recommended establishing the full impact of proposed amendments to the environmental offsets regime, and then report on the assessment of the impacts of those amendments, including costs.
Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray, said the organisation had previously called for the legislation to be rejected outright, and for the Government to consult adequately with stakeholders, including with farmers.
“We are pleased that, while the Agriculture & Environment Committee could not come to an agreement on rejecting the Bill outright, it has injected common sense into the process to introduce this legislation, and has heard the concerns of cotton growers and other farmers,” Murray said.
“Importantly, the Committee has recommended the Government engage in adequate consultation with stakeholders, and improve the accuracy of its mapping systems, both of which had been called for by Cotton Australia and other agricultural representative groups.”
“We trust the Government will take the advice of its committee and engage in serious consultation with stakeholders prior to bringing the legislation back to Parliament for debate.”
Murray said cotton growers had been justifiably concerned that the legislation had been introduced earlier this year without conducting adequate consultation with those who would be most affected – Queensland's farmers.
"Farmers are happy to have the discussion about native vegetation, and we are glad that the process has extended beyond the political theatre we have seen up until now,” Murray said.
"We look forward to working with the Government, Opposition and all MPs to build workable legislation fit for re-introduction to the Queensland Parliament." (SH)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India