Tony Perrett.
Tony Perrett. David Crossley

Gympie region farmers warned to stay vigilant

RELIEVED Gympie landholders and farmers have been cautioned to monitor any future proposals by green activists and the State Government that could undermine their businesses and legal rights.

Member for Gympie Tony Perrett said farmers and landholders had won a reprieve with the rejection of Labor's vegetation management laws and against the draconian removal of their basic legal rights.

"Today we can pleased at last night's outcome but this is not the end of the Labor government trying to demonise farmers and landholders," Mr Perret said.

"They have run a relentless campaign against landholders outrageously using questionable vegetation clearing rates which made no mention of re-growth and thickening, and omitted acknowledging that farmers are already unable to clear remnant vegetation.

"The Deputy Premier pushed for this Bill in an attempt to appease wealthy greens who live in inner city concrete urban jungles and are anti-agriculture, anti-resources and anti-economic development.

"The campaign against farmers and rural Queenslanders will not stop because of the vote because the Bill is directly related to the threat of Greens and future preference deals for inner city Labor seats such as those held by the Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment.

"That is why it is extremely important that landowners, including small residential and rural residential landholders, check their Property Maps of Sustainable Vegetation Management from the Department of Natural Resources and lock them in.

"These laws were not just an attack on our vegetation management practices. They were an attack on legal rights.

"While I welcome the vote all landholders and residents should never forget that the Government sought to remove and undermine fundamental basic legal rights of landholders.

"The Deputy Premier rejected the advice of her own Labor colleagues, the Queensland Law Society and legal fraternity and pushed to reverse the onus of proof, remove the 'mistake of fact' defence and apply the measures retrospectively.

"The measures were designed to make people guilty until they proved their innocence, to be able to prosecute landholders because they acted on patently wrong and inaccurate Government mapping and to make their lawful business practices illegal retrospectively.

"As Deputy Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee I heard from hundreds of people from throughout this region and the State who were concerned that the changes would make it harder for farmer to grow their business, restrict supply, stifle regional development, accelerate the drift of young people to the cities and stagnate local jobs.

"As true environmentalists and responsible custodians of the land farmers should be allowed to continue to sustainably manage their land."