Available for publication Thursday August 4, 2016
Environment Minister Steven Miles as reported on Monday, made the accusation that farmers this year were going to politicise the EKKA, in today’s rally (Thursday August 4) at Parliament House.
Property Rights Australia (PRA) chairman, Dale Stiller, believes that Mr Miles has scored an own goal with his comments.
“By implying that farmers should not have the right to protest”, said Mr Stiller, “he is highlighting the Palaszczuk government’s readiness to remove rights from the State’s food producers -which is exactly what is proposed in the changes to the Vegetation Management Act.”
Every year the country comes to the city at the time of the EKKA. This year the farming community also comes with a message at today’s rally, to highlight the unfairness of the Reinstatement Bill and to warn all Queensland citizens that they too can be affected in the future by the same disregard to legislative standards and human rights, such as the right to be innocent until proven guilty.
It will be those on the cross benches who will determine if the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill will be passed. PRA has sent an open letter to the cross benches explaining why they should not support the Bill.
PRA chair Mr Stiller explains that, “The open letter applies quite a few criteria to which the Bill fails to show any worth at all.”
“Are the reasons given by Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, for making a mockery of legislative principles, based in fact and have actual evidence of farmers abusing the present law? The answer is no”, said Mr Stiller. “The Government’s own Statewide Landcover and Trees Report, which they are trying to use as justification for the draconian measures, when the figures are analysed, reveals only 1,030 ha of unexplained clearing.”
“The same report shows an actual net increase in tree cover of 437,000 ha.”
Mr Stiller observed that, “The debate largely is conducted as if trees are the only indicator of the environmental health of the landscape. These areas are areas designated for agriculture, not national parks and families are required to make a living off them while increasing productivity to meet future food security of our nation.”
The open letter also looks at different environmental reasons used by the government to advance the Bill, and shows their rhetoric to be little more than shallow slogans.
“The government has disingenuously used both the Great Barrier Reef and climate change as political tools, but its justifications to stop vegetation management for these reasons are shown to be in error, “said the PRA Chairman. “The fact of the matter is, most landowners are very good stewards of the land, and manage it in a way that will ensure ongoing food production. Landowners need to be free to manage a dynamic environment and positive, balanced outcomes will result.”
The open letter to the cross benches concludes that the Bill fails on all criteria and is not worthy of support. The indications are that this Bill is being advanced to serve political deals rather than to serve the people of Queensland.
The open letter can be found at this link – http://www.propertyrightsaustralia.org/documents/1470139939_2016_aug_1_open_letter_to_cross_benches_reinstatement_bill.pdf
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