Wild Rivers red tape

Wild Rivers red tape

Issue:
AgForce supports protecting our rivers' natural values and the recognition that it is largely primary producers' voluntary land and river management efforts that have kept these natural values intact. AgForce has a long-standing opposition to the onerous Wild Rivers Act 2005 and supported its repeal in 2014 as we believe better environmental outcomes can be achieved through greater support for voluntary landholder conservation activities without introducing additional layers of red tape.

A range of other regulation already applies to land and water use activities including the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Vegetation Management Act 1999, Water Act 2000, Planning Act 2016, Forestry Act 1959, Nature Conservation Act 1992, Land Act 1994, and Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007. A desktop review conducted in 2016 showed that just at a state level, Queensland agriculture was affected by over 75 Acts and Regulations covering over 17,590 pages, not including local Government by-laws, associated Codes or Federal legislation.

The repealed Wild Rivers Act 2005 did not acknowledge responsible and ecologically sustainable development and so social and economic outcomes were ignored for the sake of a purely environment-preservation-focussed Act. It restricted the ability of producers to implement best practice land management, diversify their practices in response to future challenges, including changing climate and market factors, and created perverse pest and weed management outcomes.

Green groups are seeking commitments to introduce re-badged Wild Rivers legislation in the next term of government, but indigenous leaders and AgForce oppose the return of this stifling red tape.

Solutions that AgForce advocates:
  • Fund voluntary landholder stewardship programs, such as NatureAssist
  • Facilitate opportunities for sustainable, viable development on suitable land so that landholders have more resources to conserve significant natural values on their properties
  • Undertake real and transparent consultation with all affected stakeholders on any proposals to introduce unwanted 'wild rivers' or 'pristine rivers' legislation

Wild Rivers red tape

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