The Council of Mayors Darling Downs & South West Queensland is backing the Queensland Farmers’ Federation call for a rethink of the proposed changes to Queensland’s vegetation management laws.
Council of Mayors chair Cr Paul Antonio said more consultation was needed to find a better balance that would support primary producers, especially during harsh seasonal conditions.
“Consultation has been inadequate to date. While the government has a mandate and an obligation to protect environmental assets, it also needs to recognise the damage that the planned changes will have on sustainable and high-quality agricultural production,” Cr Antonio said, who also is the Toowoomba Region Mayor.
“By removing powers to keep stock alive in mulga territory in our challenging climate, the new laws will do great economic damage as an accidental by-product of otherwise appropriate controls.
“What is needed is a balanced approach that properly addresses economic sustainability alongside environmental and social benefits.
“We need to find a workable solution, instead of setting up a time-bomb that will precipitate another overhaul in the short term.”
Quilpie Shire Mayor Cr Stuart Mackenzie said one positive approach would be to set up an independent authority to make the calls, on a similar model to the Gas Fields Commission.
“Local government needs to be fully involved in creating a 10-year plan to meet all areas of need in a balanced way,” Cr Mackenzie said.
The Council of Mayors (DDSWQ) represents the communities of the Bulloo, Quilpie, Paroo, Murweh, Maranoa, Balonne, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Southern Downs and Toowoomba regions and shires, covering an area the size of Sweden.
The group represents one quarter of Queensland’s land area and produces around 25% of its cattle stock and 75% of its grain and pulse crops.