Qld leaseholders to win extensions for environmental work

19th March 2007Queensland farmers and graziers who lease State Government land will be able to get longer leases if they improve the condition of their land, under innovative land reforms introduced in the Queensland Parliament yesterday.

Minister for Natural Resources and Water, Craig Wallace, says the Land and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 will facilitate the introduction of the Blueprint for the Bush’s State Rural Leasehold Land Strategy.

The strategy allows leases of 50, 40 and 30 years, compared with the current maximum of 30 years.

Lease extensions will be granted if landholders keep their land in good condition, conserve high-value areas of their land or allow access by local indigenous people.

“The State Rural Leasehold Land Strategy acknowledges that security of tenure is needed for successful agriculture and grazing,” Mr Wallace said.

“It rewards leaseholders who protect the natural resources and environmental values critical to the land’s long-term viability.

“This is an innovative incentive and a win-win for the landholder, the environment and the community at large.”

Almost 65pc of Queensland is State-owned land that is leased to landholders.

Details of possible extensions to leases are:

· currently rural lessees can have a lease for a maximum of 30 years;

· leaseholders who improve the condition of their land will be able to receive an additional 10 years to their term; and

· a 50-year term is possible for land where further conservation and indigenous access requirements are fulfilled.

The Land and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 also amends the Vegetation Management Act to allow a landholder to voluntarily declare their land protected under that Act.

“In the future, landholders may be able to use the trees on their land that are not currently protected by the vegetation laws as a source of income through carbon credits,” Mr Wallace said.

“These changes will allow a landholder to easily protect trees when that is required as part of securing carbon or other offsets.”

SOURCE: Queensland Country Life, weekly rural newspaper, posting news updates daily on FarmOnline.

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