30th November 2015
It may not be surprising but that doesn’t negate the anger, sadness & frustration that regional Qld and especially agricultural producing landowners have been disregarded, mere pawns to political expediency. On Saturday 28th November at the ‘people’s climate march’ in Brisbane the Qld Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, announced a full reinstatement of the Beattie government Vegetation Management Act.
This is the government’s statement: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2015/11/28/queensland-government-acts-on-vegetation-management
I was asked for a response ASAP by the Queensland Country Life who subsequently published online this article: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/3524407/tree-reforms-return-to-bad-old-beattiebligh-days/?cs=4698
PRA Statement Nov 28 2015
Well may Ms Trad acknowledge the widespread anger expressed by landholders towards the Beattie and Bligh governments, as the Palaszczuk government will be remembered in the same light. History is being allowed to be repeated and the lessons have been ignored. The established science of thickening of the tree species disrupting the balance with other vegetation types has been ignored. These other vegetation types include grasses which in most ecosystems have a greater ability to prevent erosion. Ignored too is any allowance for less developed regions of the State. A one-size fits all approach to vegetation management on a state-wide basis denies social and economic opportunity to parts of north and western Queensland. Ignored is the human cost as a result of the Beattie legislation and the “jack boot” enforcement methods -political vilification and “tree police” victimisation. A great deal of hardship was experienced as a result of unethical investigation & the prosecution by the use of dubious evidence. All ignored without care.
Today in a statement laden in a climate of fear along with the SLATS report that the Palaszczuk government has withheld from its due release in August for this purpose; all timed to be released on the weekend of the people’s climate march. This all points to a government that wishes to justify delivering hardship on rural people by placing a false veneer of virtuous urgency. A government that is eager to repay the debt of green preferences from last election where it gained a very tenuous grip on power with minority government.
Ms Trad is at pains to highlight the increase of area cleared. It must be remembered that this increase came from a period of near total clamp down under Labor and coincided with a period of drought with mulga fodder harvesting. But the increase is 142,686 ha in a State that is 172,000,000 ha which a miserly 0.08% and most of this clearing would have been regrowth.
For Ms Trad to suggest that the previous LNP government “scrapped the Beattie Government’s nation leading tree clearing laws” defies credibility as the laws were never repealed rather amended and rather modestly at that. Property Rights Australia has no problem calling a spade a spade and the previous Minister, Andrew Cripps, will have no problems recalling PRA strong opposition to other reforms that he managed but on this issue it is clearly evident that Mr Cripps reforms were sound.
How dare the Palaszczuk government claim to be returning balance when the Beattie legislation defied that definition? Is it balanced that agricultural producers are again subjected to an attack on our civil rights such as reversal of the onus of proof, denial of the right to silence and mistake of fact, all were part of the Beattie legislation that Ms Trad praises. These rights have long been considered basic principles of the Westminster system and their removal has received criticism from jurists and legal academics. The removal of these basic rights means that landowners have less rights than a common criminal.
On Sunday I recorded an interview with ABC radio Southern Qld which was played on the Monday morning, Rural Report.
This online ABC article is derived from the radio interviews from a few sources:
The government has taken vegetation management away from the Minister Anthony Lynham and have given this role to the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad. To read more of the political intrigues follow this link: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/3524340/lynham-sidelined-as-palaszczuk-belts-farmers-over-vegetation-management/?cs=4785
Jackie Trad had indicated that a new Bill will be presented to Parliament early 2016. The current government has a minority status and requires votes from the cross benches or the independent speaker, Peter Wellington. I am making no presumptions that the government has secured an agreement on a vote to ensure the passage of this Bill. My thinking is that for political mileage they don’t need to have the legislation passed. They need to be seen to be returning the debt of green preferences at the last election. They will believe that by trying and in failing it won’t harm the green vote in fact it could be used as an electioneering tactic to ask for majority government.
Dale Stiller, Chairman
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49 214 000
Fax: 07 49271 888
STAND YOUR GROUND