New regrowth code a boost for coastal small crop farmers

Published Tuesday, 09 April, 2019 at 02:00 PM

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

Coastal small crop farmers are set to benefit from proposed changes to the new regrowth vegetation code.

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said the draft regrowth code, released this week for public feedback, would allow farmers to clear up to 10 hectares of regrowth vegetation for agriculture purposes while still balancing environmental needs.

“Supporting farmers to self-manage and clear up to 10 hectares of regrowth vegetation for agriculture will offer a big boost to Queensland’s coastal line agricultural industries, especially to farmers of crops like strawberries, macadamias and tomatoes,” Dr Lynham said.

“The new draft regrowth code covers native vegetation that’s 15 years or older and has new requirements to prevent soil erosion and sediment run-off entering the waterways in all six Great Barrier Reef catchments.

“To further assist farmers, the previous two regrowth codes have been merged into one which reduces the need to make multiple notifications and will reduce the 10 current codes to nine. 

“Other sensible changes that benefit farmers making self-assessments include simplified definitions, easier to follow instructions, and clearer time frames for notification to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.”

Dr Lynham said the Department had contacted more than 450 farmers, who had used the previous regrowth codes in the past year, for feedback on the new draft.

“I encourage farmers to go to the ‘get involved’ website, or call the 135 VEG hotline, to provide constructive feedback on the draft regrowth code by Monday 6 May.

“History shows that Queensland’s farmers can and have flourished under sustainable vegetation management.

“We’ve now reviewed nine of the 10 accepted development vegetation clearing codes that will continue to give landholders flexibility to manage their properties when they come into effect in mid-2019.”

Dr Lynham said the independent Queensland Herbarium and CSIRO were part of the review process. 

“We value the contribution our $20 billion agricultural industry makes to the Queensland economy and to our rural and regional communities,” he said.

“The land management laws and reviewed codes are based on independent science and a scientific understanding of what we need to do to safeguard Queensland’s vital agricultural business and our unique landscape.

“Independent scientific information showed us that tree-clearing rates are increasing, and remnant vegetation is declining.

“We are investing $3.9 million over two years to establish a scientific program to support an enhanced State-wide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) to identify and report on the condition and extent of regrowth vegetation and inform habitat conservation.

“The enhanced study will provide a complete summary for decision makers and stakeholders that shows woody vegetation trends, including clearing and regrowth, woody vegetation extent, its condition, and the purposes for clearing.” 

Editors NB. Photos courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

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