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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney
    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Vegetation management changes to support new ag areas

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Vegetation management changes to support new ag areas

    The Newman Government today unveiled practical reforms to Queensland’s vegetation management laws that will pave the way for the sustainable development of new agricultural areas in Queensland’s Gulf Country.

    Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps announced the proposed changes on a tour of Hughenden-district property “Dunluce”, in the heart of one of Queensland’s most promising new agricultural areas.

    “The Newman Government is delivering on its commitment to reduce red-tape for landowners across Queensland, boost food production and deliver jobs and strong economic benefits for the rural sector and regional communities,” Mr Seeney said.

    “The amendments we are proposing in the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill 2013 will allow sustainable vegetation management activities to occur to support the development of high value agriculture in areas with appropriate land and climate characteristics.

    “We are creating the opportunity for farming businesses to expand cropping operations and build necessary infrastructure without the burden of unnecessary regulation.

    “These proposals will bring us a step closer to meeting the Newman Government’s goal of doubling the value of Queensland food production by 2040.”

    Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said the amendments to be introduced into State Parliament today will restore much needed balance to the State’s vegetation management framework, while retaining key environmental protections.

    “The Newman Government is determined to close the chapter on 20 years of Labor over-regulation of vegetation management activities,” Mr Cripps said.

    “Labor had allowed the pendulum to swing too far towards radical green policies that threatened the ability of landholders to effectively manage their businesses and maintain productivity.

    “The introduction of self-assessable codes for routine vegetation management activities such as weed and pest management, fodder harvesting and thinning will save landholders time and money, while still requiring them to abide by a code stipulating sustainable land management practices.”

    Mr Cripps said while the Bill proposes to remove regulations regarding regrowth control on freehold and indigenous land, these regulations will still apply to leasehold land and in reef watercourses.

    “I stress that these reforms are not a signal that the Newman Government is relaxing environmental standards and do not give the green light for landholders to carry out indiscriminate land clearing,” he said.

    “Inappropriate vegetation management practices that show no regard for the environment can still be readily detected through satellite monitoring.”

    Key reforms proposed under the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill 2013 include:

     ·         The introduction of new clearing purposes under the Act for high-value agriculture and environmental works (such as land rehabilitation)

     ·         The removal of regrowth regulations on freehold and indigenous land, but the retention of controls on regrowth control on leasehold land and in reef watercourses

     ·         New provisions to allow for the creation of self-assessable codes for routine management activities such as weed and pest management, fodder harvesting and thinning

     ·         The creation of simplified statewide vegetation maps to clearly define areas where regulations will apply

     ·         The removal of the guide to sentencing under the existing Vegetation Management Act to ensure more consistent and equitable penalties in cases of inappropriate clearing

    Mr Cripps said these proposed reforms will now be referred to the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry parliamentary committee for thorough examination and full public consultation.

    More information on the amendments and how to make submissions to the Parliamentary Committee is available under Vegetation Management at: www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/home

    [ENDS] 20 March 2013

    Media contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or John Wiseman 0409 791 281