Every Queensland landholder should start 2017 by downloading the latest Property Map of Assessable Vegetation (PMAV) for their property.
Trust me, this will prove to be vital not only to your ongoing operations as a landholder, but in the wider debate about vegetation management in Queensland this year.
The changes proposed in the ALP’s vegetation management Bill last year were scandalous in the way they stripped landholders of their rights before the courts. So scandalous in fact that the Queensland Parliament refused to pass the Bill.
In response, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Stephen Miles vowed to continue the “fight”. We have all been warned. We should equip ourselves accordingly and an up-to-date PMAV will be essential.
The most heartbreaking part of this sorry saga is that Queensland ministers could see their job as fighting Queensland’s own farmers and citizens.
But Labor has continually distorted facts and sought to demonise agriculture – one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy and one that is achieving record exports for Queensland.
If the ALP’s true goal is environmental outcomes, they could do worse than look at the results being achieved by the Environmental Stewardship Program being conducted by the Australian Government in conjunction with the Australian National University and landholders in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland conserving box gum grassy woodlands.
This model conservation program is everything Labor’s vegetation management legislation was not.
It is a long term approach not part of the political cycle. It is being scientifically monitored so that the inputs and outcomes can be known. This means they can assessed in a way that actually advances knowledge and conservation in an Australian setting.
Importantly, the program is based on a recognition that farmers hold sincere and deep motivations – emotional and financial – about conserving their land. Far from demonising landholders, it dignifies them as an essential part of the conservation effort.
This model should be copied from the Reef Catchments to Lake Eyre. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath.
Instead, I am expecting the Trad-Miles Vegetation Management Bill 2017. So, visit www.dnrm.qld.gov.au and download your PMAVs as soon as you can.