Native Vegetation Clearing Laws – Position Statement


  • Australian State Governments and local councils have consistently introduced Vegetation Management and other Legislation with regards to the clearing of vegetation, it is our position to strongly oppose many of the historic changes made in the past. we believe that changes have been made more for the purpose of appeasing green and environmental groups and an attempt to grab votes from urban voters who have little to no knowledge of the actual circumstances and facts, than for any real positive environmental benefit.
  • We reject the claim that the changes are for the protection for high-value regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for important habitats, including waterways leading to the sea and Great Barrier Reef, we also reject the claim that appropriate relevant scientific data has been used as a basis for these changes.
  • In Queensland the claim that this is about preventing runoff to and saving the reef is rejected, 75% of Queensland drains to the west and away from the reef, of the remaining 25%, much of this is made up of public land and urban development, one such development resulted in the clear felling of 4680ha in the Ripley Valley with a State government Priority Development Area status, this area being prime koala habitat, which flies in the face of the claim these laws in QLD are also protecting fauna habitat.
  • The reasoning’s and science used to underpin many laws are flawed, the results of significant prior research appear to have been purposefully ignored
  • No analysis of social and economic impacts. millions of hectares of DEVELOPED farming land will be locked up with no compensation.
  • This locked up land will, for all intensive purposes, be un-managed, the result being a degradation of the environment.
  • The bottom line is, if farmers don’t look after their land, they have no future. Farmers know that it is in their best interests to manage their land in a sustainable way, we are talking about people who have a generational investment in the country, they are there for the long term.
  • The vast majority of clearing done by farmers is managing invasive woody weed regrowth on land that has been farmed/grazed for decades.
  • The claim that trees prevent erosion is false, in many of the soil types and areas across Australia, heavy scrub cover actually increases erosion, as the under-story/pasture grasses that hold the soil together are denuded, there are many places where this example can be observed, where the scrub is cleared, and grass are allowed to grow, the erosion is minimal.
  • As an example, a QLD State wide Land cover and Trees Study, which is used to monitor woody vegetation clearing in Queensland’s native vegetation, (SLATS) 2012-14 report showed there was 437,000 ha more trees over and above what was reported as cleared, in 51 out of 77 shires tree cover actually increased, the clearing of regrowth encroachment, thinning of existing thickening ecosystems and drought feeding of mulga have been included in this figure.
  • Claims that 1.2 million hectares of land were cleared in Queensland over three years following the Newman government’s relaxation of land-clearing laws, are misleading, what these claims don’t reveal is, that this represents just a 0.7 per cent increase in agricultural use because of land development, or just 0.23 per cent a year, they especially omit to mention the fact that about two-thirds of vegetation management carried out by farmers is to control regrowth areas that had previously been cleared. This reality is repeated across Australia.

POLICY

  1. It is our intention to work with other willing parties and independents across Australia, towards seeing laws repealed and replaced with ones based on relevant science and practical application in respect to land management and agriculture and, due consideration of social and economic impacts.