Agforce challenges 'confusing' land-clearing laws
LEADING agricultural body AgForce has criticised the State Government for "selective science” and using convenient statistics in their effort to convince rural communities their land- clearing laws are necessary.
The Palaszczuk Government used data from the annual State Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) report to back up the move to implement the Vegetation Management Act, which it claims is required to prevent land clearing for agriculture.
Georgie Somerset, general president of AgForce, said the government had misused the report to 'scaremonger' over land clearing, and justify its introduction of laws.
"They are confusing and counter-productive,” Ms Somerset said.
The laws have been linked to bushfires around the state in November.
"Not allowing producers to manage fuel loads on their properties or clear adequate fire breaks has contributed to the ferocity of those devastating bush- fires,” Ms Somerset said.
"The government's heavily edited version of the report doesn't mention that most clearing is done to provide feed to prevent livestock from starving during drought and to maintain land, including controlling weeds and invasive species that compete with native vegetation.
"The community needs and deserves to see the entire report to understand vegetation clearing, however, the Government has refused to release it.”
AgForce has pushed for enhancing the scope of SLATS and vegetation information to support evidence-based decision making.
"We have been arguing for years that government scientists should have the resources they need to examine how much vegetation is growing in Queensland, not just how much is being cleared.”