- Labor’s distrust and disregard for farmers loud and clear in 2016-17 Budget
- Palaszczuk Government spending big on vegetation management compliance officers
- Labor’s vegetation management laws to strip away farmers’ rightsThe Palaszczuk Labor Government is spending up big on the Tree Police to ensure vegetation management compliance officers have new tools to prosecute farmers and landholders in regional Queensland. Shadow Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said Labor’s budget announcement of $7.8 million to secure high-resolution satellite imagery coverage of Queensland made it clear the government intended to target farmers and landowners managing vegetation on their properties and treat them like criminals.
“The Palaszczuk Government has already proposed changes to Queensland’s vegetation management framework to bring back the reversal of the onus of proof and remove mistake of fact as a defence and now it is spending millions on high resolution images to spy on farmers,” Mr Cripps said.
“These two measures, taken together, makes it clear that Labor intends their reinstated tree police unit within the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to be both armed and dangerous when it comes to dealing with Queensland’s farmers and landowners.”
Mr Cripps said the absence of any mention of the agriculture sector or regional economic development opportunities meant he feared the investment by the Palaszczuk Labor Government in new satellite imaging capability was to undertake targeted compliance activities.
“While I’d normally welcome the use of satellite imagery, Labor’s track record of pandering to green groups and treating farmers like criminals makes me nervous about this government’s true motivations and intentions,” he said.
“In fact, the budget papers for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines state quite clearly that the purpose of the proposed amendments to Queensland’s vegetation management framework is to protect the Great Barrier Reef and reduce carbon emissions.”
- The high-resolution satellite imagery will be made publicly available through the Queensland Globe.
- The Palaszczuk Labor Government plans to completely repeal the important High Value Agriculture and High Value Irrigated Agriculture pathways to development in the Act.
- Under Labor’s proposed laws, freehold and indigenous freehold landowners will be stripped of their rights to manage regrowth vegetation and restrictions on vegetation management near watercourses will extend to the Eastern Cape York Peninsula, Fitzroy and Burnett/Mary catchment.