The decision by the LNP to adopt AgForce’s landscape management policy in close to its entirety is a win for environmentally sustainable agriculture and AgForce’s progressive approach.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said that for years AgForce has been advocating a policy of landscape restoration, not broadacre clearing, and that the LNP’s commitment to deliver fair and balanced landscape laws acknowledged this.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the announcement by the LNP that they will essentially adopt our entire landscape management policy if they are elected to government in October,” Mr Guerin said.
“Landscape management does not mean facilitating a return to the wholesale land clearing of the past. No one wants to see that, especially not the landholders who intrinsically care about the land because it’s their workplace and often their home.
“What landholders have been seeking to do is to maintain a healthy balance between trees and grass. Management of the land and control of regrowth is what vegetation needs to be healthy and to regenerate.
“Current laws locking up land and preventing active management cause vegetation to thicken rapidly, often choking healthy ecosystems.
“Thinning ‘feral landscapes’ allows for effective weed control, minimises the risk of pest animals, and reduces overgrown vegetation that can become a severe fire risk. We have seen the devastating results of that in action.
Mr Guerin said that AgForce had received very favourable support to its policy position on landscape management from the minor parties, including in recent meetings with the Greens, One Nation, and Katter’s Australian Party, and that they would welcome the same level of support from Labor.
“We are very keen to discuss landscape management with the State Government,” Mr Guerin said.
“We need a bipartisan approach to this issue – a practical, balanced approach that gives landholders certainty that they can manage their land regardless of who is in power.
“That basic principal has never been more vital with the issue of food security at the forefront of many peoples’ minds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Queensland’s current laws limit what farmers can and can’t do on their own land with harsh penalties for non-compliance, which does nothing to support innovation and good management.
Mr Guerin did suggest there was one area the LNP could look to invest further effort in – that of Natural Capital.
“Farmers manage for the long term, beyond the normal cycle of elections, which in recent years have driven the major amendments to tree clearing laws,” Mr Guerin said.
“If we want to continue to produce the safest food in the world, which Australian food currently is, then we need to ensure farmers have access to the necessary land on which to produce it.
“That’s why AgForce supports a Natural Capital approach that incentivises landholders in a voluntary manner for good landscape management, rather than the current regulatory approach that focuses on compliance and enforcement.”