For more than two hundred years Australian farmers have been developing an understanding of how to successfully manage the many and varied environments in Australia. In particular they have each learned to manage the natural environment in which their farm is situated to make it both productive and sustainable.
While Australia is a big country, highly productive agricultural land is far from plentiful. With urban encroachment continuing to take that land, the agricultural sector needs access to more suitable local land or must develop new areas in order to do high-ouput work that requires acres of space. Almost all farmers realise they need to farm in a way that allows future farmers to be more productive and our environment to flourish, first at a local level and then globally.
It seems the State Government’s proposed tree clearing laws not only fail to take these factors into account but are more about political expediency rather than a balanced scientific view. If the government does not allow high-value agriculture access in a balanced and sustainable way then regional communities will suffer an unfair and disproportionate amount – particularly farmers who may own land but not be allowed to develop on it. Would the community stand for the removal of the right to build houses in a housing development once say, 70% of allotments were built?
For more than a decade there has been a lack of basic justice. The government only recently agreed to abandon the reverse onus of proof that required farmers to prove themselves innocent rather than be proven guilty, which I thought was a basic part of justice.
All major agricultural advocacy groups including QDO have jointly voiced their disapproval of this legislation and are looking for a more just and scientific process to replace it.