2016.08.19 Statement – defeat of VM Reinstatement Bill




Property Rights Australia Chairman, Dale Stiller welcomed the defeat of the government’s proposed harsh amendments to the Vegetation Management Act.


From the tip of Cape York to the southern border, land custodians, food producers and all Queenslanders have good reason to celebrate with a victory over opponents from the radical end of the environment movement and the government Ministers, Jackie Trad and Steven Miles, who fought a very dirty campaign.


Queenslanders and particularly those off the land are frustrated by the lack of honesty in this State.  Unethical interpretation of facts is expected from some green groups, intent on seeking absolute control and attracting funding for their campaigns, having abandoned practical on ground conservation; but governments are supposed to represent all citizens. This Palaszczuk ALP government has been undignified in misrepresenting the data, misleading people, fabricating emotional alarm, ignoring good land management practices and denigrating food producers and land custodians.


It should be held as a matter for astonishment and of no credibility for the Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, to loudly claim that it’s a virtue to strip away established important legal protections.  Her proposal to introduce legislation that could penalise farmers as guilty until proven innocent would have had detrimental flow on effects for all Queenslanders.


The member for Cook, Billy Gordon, recognised the shallowness of the government’s promise to review the Cape York Heritage Act to secure his vote. In its current form this Act is of little benefit, only allowing Aboriginal peoples to clear their land at the Minister’s discretion. Cape York indigenous and non-indigenous peoples most certainly do not need yet another review. A promise review of which there are 101 ways for the government to avoid implementing any improvement.   


Mr Stiller cautioned landowners that while elections can be won through preference deals, that we will continue to be victims of these campaigns. It is a winning formula developed by the former Premier, Peter Beattie and this current ALP government have demonstrated the preparedness to vilify agricultural producers in an effort to be re-elected.


The Palaszczuk government failed last night to change the legislation, of which is a huge relief, but they can at any time change what is left in regulation.

Already there are no new High Value Agriculture permits being issued with the government having changed the guidelines in the State Development Assessment Provisions.  The changes in the SDAP included previously prohibiting clearing within set distances from watercourses to drainage features. This means any hollow depression or channel capable of carrying water.


The self-assessable codes may have been retained in the legislation but the guidelines in the regulation are in the process of being tightened. First off the rank is the code for thickening vegetation with the consultation draft revealing that the government will leave it available in name only having made thinning near impossible to comply with and at great economic cost.


Importantly the failure of this Bill has shown that people living in regional Queensland are not completely helpless and that is the sweetest victory to come from this campaign. If we stand up strongly but patiently, clearly articulate a message and stick to the facts we do win the hearts and minds of the majority of the population. PRA wishes to congratulate the Cape York Land Council, Agforce, QFF, the Qld Law Society, PRA’s network of legal specialists and scientists and the PRA members for their strong contribution that saw the downfall of this Bill.  This win demonstrates that on matters that demand a position of principle to be taken, that we all need to stand strong and not yield or try to appease environmental extremism or politicians seeking votes based on lies. 


Farmers are high on the list of the most trusted professions in surveys of the general Australian public. Farmers need these very same people to say to the politicians that treating farmers as grossly unworthy of trust is exceedingly unfair. Farmers and all land custodians need to continue to talk to the people in urban areas and explain that we are responsible land managers and demonstrate and promote good land management practices.




(684 words)





For further information contact: 

     Dale Stiller

     Ph: (07) 4628 2173            Email: dstil@bigpond.com