AgForce is calling on the Queensland Government to come clean on its plans for river regulations following revelations of a secret motion passed at Labor’s state conference that called for the revival of wild rivers laws.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said agricultural landholders had not been formally consulted on any proposals for ‘wild rivers’ or ‘pristine rivers’ declarations in potentially affected areas.
“AgForce had a long standing opposition to the former Wild Rivers Act and supported its removal as we believe better environmental outcomes can be achieved through more support for voluntary landholder conservation activities without introducing additional layers of regulation,” he said.
“There is enormous potential for high value crops to be grown in northern Queensland and to realise opportunities for sustainable, viable development, but that will only happen if land use laws are sensible and balanced.
“It is very concerning to learn that delegates at Labor’s state conference in Townsville voted for a motion calling on the Queensland Government to ‘immediately’ introduce new river regulations, especially when there has been no formal consultation or any proposals released for public comment.
“Imposing blanket bans on new broadacre cropping and water storages under new river regulations would stifle development in North Queensland and mean fewer new job opportunities, particularly for Indigenous people.
“We urge the Queensland Government to come clean now on their plans and consult with all those affected, including primary producers and Indigenous community representatives, on any proposed new regulations for pristine rivers.”
Mr Maudsley said the previous wild rivers laws increased the amount of red tape affecting farmers and introduced constraints on best practice land management, creating perverse pest and weed outcomes.
“AgForce supports the principle of protecting our rivers’ natural values and is urging the Queensland Government to recognise voluntary land and river management efforts that have kept these natural values intact, and not unnecessarily impede responsible and sustainable development,” he said.
“Balancing sustainable development with good environmental outcomes can be achieved without always resorting to more red tape that just makes it more difficult and more expensive for farmers to produce high quality food and fibre.”