Queensland landholders are getting behind the Newman Government’s vegetation management reforms, with almost 1500 people attending 66 public information sessions held right across the state during December 2013.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said landholders were given a comprehensive understanding of the changes, which removed unnecessary paperwork and allowed farmers and graziers to get on with routine land management practices.
“Since the codes commenced in early December, we’ve already seen a healthy take-up across the agriculture sector, which we’ve set up as one of Queensland’s four economic pillars,” Mr Cripps said.
“They enable landholders to undertake routine property management activities, such as controlling pest weeds that pose a threat to crops or harvesting fodder for stock, by simply notifying the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), rather than having to apply for a permit.
“These are common sense changes that protect the environment while reducing costs for landholders, an important balance that didn’t exist under the previous Labor government.”
Mr Cripps said that 94 notifications had been received from landholders since December and the early success demonstrated the benefits of close collaboration with all parties.
“Landholders and industry had direct input into developing the codes, ensuring they are understood and easy to use,” he said.
Landholders who want to undertake vegetation management activities are encouraged to call the Department to speak with a local DNRM officer.
“A quick chat on the phone will ensure landholders use the correct code and in some cases may even save the need to inform the department in future when certain work is to be undertaken,” he said.
“Officers from the Department will continue to engage with landholders to fine tune the reforms and will host a number of on the ground field days across the state in the coming months.”
Mr Cripps said the opportunity to apply for a high-value agriculture exemption to support the growth of the sector was already delivering positive outcomes.
“Proposals where landholders can demonstrate they meet certain criteria before being given the go-ahead, have the potential to provide major economic benefits for Queensland,” he said.
“There have been two successful applications under this new exemption so far, which is aimed at providing opportunities for existing farming operations to improve their efficiency and sustainably expand their business.”
Mr Cripps said the new laws did not allow for indiscriminate clearing of vegetation and the Department would continue to monitor vegetation management activities across Queensland, with penalties for those who do the wrong thing.
More information on the Queensland Government’s vegetation management reforms and self-assessable codes is available at www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/land/vegetation-management or by phoning 13 QGOV (13 74 68) and asking to speak with a regional vegetation management officer.