Landcover study only tells “half the story” in vegetation laws debate
Thursday, 5 Oct 2017

AgForce has renewed its call for fair and balanced vegetation management laws that deliver sustainable growth in agricultural production and good environmental outcomes for Queensland following the release of the latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS).

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the 2015/16 SLATS report still only looked at “half the story” around land management laws by measuring clearing rates without accurately measuring how much vegetation in Queensland had regrown.

“Farmers manage vegetation on our land so we can grow food for dinner tables across Australia and throughout the world,” he said.

“Despite the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s scaremongering, the reality is this report reveals only 0.23 per cent of Queensland’s total land area was cleared in 2015/16 and about two thirds of that was to manage regrowth.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Palaszczuk Government continues to misuse statistics for their own political purposes when they know and have admitted the data is flawed.*

“Using a term like ‘deforestation’ is misleading as vegetation management has nothing to do with state forests or national parks, and is more about how open woodlands are managed on private and leasehold properties.

“AgForce has always said we are willing to work through a science and evidence based process on this issue, which means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation has regrown and why vegetation was being managed, not just how much has been cleared.”

Mr Maudsley said AgForce had recently released its ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy Agriculture’ policy in a bid to put an end to vegetation management laws being used as a political football election after election.

“We believe the vegetation management framework should be about achieving the best outcomes for the environment and primary producers, rather than selective clearing statistics and prescriptive regulations,” he said.

“Agriculture underpins hundreds of thousands of jobs and is one of the foundations of the Queensland economy with demand for our high-quality food and fibre on the rise. For agriculture to reach its full potential though, we need the right policy settings from government to take our industry forward, not hold us back.”

A copy of AgForce’s ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy Agriculture’ plan is available at www.agforceqld.org.au  

*‘Government admits tree survey data flawed’ - The Australian, 22 May 2017, p 4

Media Contact: Scott Whitby 0418 733 102
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