Landholders being choked by state-sanctioned vegetation management laws and graziers battling drought have been betrayed this week by the Palaszczuk Government, Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.
The KAP’s Vegetation Management Act Amendment Bill 2018, and its accompanying Mulga harvesting provisions, were debated in the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday but Labor used its numbers to vote it down.
Mr Katter said it was clear the Palaszczuk Government had rejected the bill on an ideological basis, proving again its blind intent to lock-up Queensland farm land up at all costs.
He said Labor’s latest failure on behalf of the bush demonstrated it was absolutely committed to using rural Queenslanders as the sacrificial lamb in order to chase extreme green votes in the city.
“These were very modest amendments, and the aim of them was to simply tidy up anomalies that have been widely-reported by landholders in the aftermath of the battle on tree-clearing here in Queensland,” Mr Katter.
“We simply tried to give applicants the right to be given notice of clearing permit rejection or not, rather than leave those that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in limbo for years in some cases.
“We further tried to tidy up an anomaly that restricted the use of already-approved cropping land for grazing – in reality this current rule means can grow hay on a paddock and throw it over the fence for stock to eat but not let those same cattle through the fence to eat the hay directly.
“It’s just madness, and this sort of thing is crippling for those who need to work the land to produce food.
“These amendments were made in consultation with AgForce and we at the KAP deliberately ensured they did not over-reach, just to get some buy-in from both the State Government and the Opposition.”
Mr Katter said Labor MPs had twisted the intentions of the bill, and were being dishonest with Queenslanders about their management of the land.
“As usual the State Government mischievously tried to make out that the bill was advocated for broad-scale tree-clearing,” he said.
“Astonishingly the Member for Cook tried to imply that Labor was improving the use of land in the Cape, when the truth is very much the opposite and suggesting otherwise is delusional.
“We know the Labor Government is working hard to increasingly lock-up the Cape and remove the right to prosperity for those First Australians up there.
“If the Member for Cook had both her offices actually located in her electorate, as opposed to one in Cairns, she may have a better understanding of how people are being impacted on the ground.
“I also note that while the Member for Warrego was ready and willing this week to criticise the KAP for its efforts on this bill, she and her party are yet to offer up any solutions of their own.”
As part of the bill, the KAP also introduced its Mulga clearing amendments which would have allowed drought-affected farmers better access to the 40 million acres of mulga resources in southern Queensland in order to feed their starving stock.
Labor also rejected this solution.
“This must be one of the most practical, cost-free, measures that the State Government could offer to producers in drought, and yet Labor refused to support it,” Mr Katter said.
“It would directly have supported people like Charleville grazier Dan McDonald, who was taken to court and fined an astronomical amount of money simply for using his own Mulga to feed cattle.
“The Premier has said publicly that she would consider anything when it comes to solving problems with drought, and now she needs to answer directly as why she would not accept or even consider this solution.”