Call goes out for a halt to country’s vegetation Acts

Rural Weekly – North Central Queensland Edition, Mackay
17 May 2012

THE Queensland Government’s decision to suspend investigations and prosecution under the Vegetation Management Act should be repeated across the country.

That is the opinion of Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision and Institute of Public Affairs north Australia project director John Shipp.

Last month, Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps announced investigation and enforcement of these controversial laws would cease pending a review of the Act.

Each state has introduced native vegetation laws which limit the ability for landowners to use their property.

Land use restrictions place strict limits on how much vegetation landowners can clear.

“All states should review their native vegetation clearing laws, review the penalties involved, put in place compensation for landowners who can no longer use their land, and restore legal rights to individuals affected by these laws,” Mr Shipp said.

“Native vegetation laws deprive people of their property rights and constrain economic development, particularly in northern Australia.”

For more than two decades the IPA has been calling for governments to cease prosecutions of farmers under native vegetation laws.

“Both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have recently announced that they want north Australia to become the food bowl of Asia,” Mr Shipp said.

“The suspension of native vegetation prosecutions is a good starting point for this to be achieved.

“Experts and leaders believe north Australia could help feed an extra 200 million people a year in Asia, but that will never happen if land use remains overregulated as it is currently.”