Members’ Newsletter 14th January 2016

“The erosion of private property rights is the single biggest issue

facing the rural community.  It creates uncertainty, stifles investment,

job creation and threatens incomes and service delivery.”

Members’ Newsletter

14th January 2016

Attack on approved High value agriculture clearing (HVA)  permits by Joanne Rea

PRA has been contacted by holders of High Value Agriculture clearing permits who were notified about 17th December that they may be in breach of the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) with a response required by 23rd December.

Chairman Dale Stiller worked through Christmas with available advisors to prepare a reasonable response to what was an ambiguous letter (available on our website) and a letter to Minister Greg Hunt.  Many landowners have been very stressed by this letter.

Although the media and environmental organisations TWS & WWF has concentrated on the larger areas granted there are many small areas with at least one being only 1ha.

This really was an unreasonable timeframe under any circumstance but this was exacerbated by the Christmas period with advisors not available and some with various seasonal crops working overtime over the Christmas period.

Anyone with HVA permits please contact PRA by Dale Stiller

If you have a Qld government approved high value agriculture (HVA) permit please contact either the PRA office or the PRA Chairman.

If you have made application for a HVA permit but approval is being delayed unnecessarily, again please make contact.

Those with an approved permit or are making application if you receive any correspondence from either a State or Federal department; PRA highly recommends that you seek advice before responding.

The letter from the Federal Department of Environment placed Landowners under much uncertainty, designed to coerce landowners into a process of engagement to delay (possibly indefinitely) lawful clearing as allowed under HVA permits approved by the Qld government.

It has not been usual practise in the past for the Federal Department on a broad indiscriminate manner, (all holders of HVA permits were sent this letter), seeking to impose landowners property rights by misrepresenting the intent and effect of the EPBC Act.  All indications are that the names & contact details were supplied from Qld to the federal department.  On each occasion that a property inspection has been undertaken, it has been jointly by both State & federal compliance officers.

This level of duplicity and complicity cannot be tolerated and that is why PRA swung into action on this issue working on the three fronts of – asking for legal advice, applying political pressure and endeavouring to inform affected landowners by rural media and social media.  Not all resources were available at the time but the matter demanded a priority for decisive action not perfection.

For further information please go to the PRA web site –

Amendments to the Water Act by Joanne Rea

Property Rights Australia put in a submission on amendments to the Water Act but it is more notable for what was not in it than what was in it.  Any changes were largely cosmetic and a reversal of some aspects of the previous Government’s legislation.

The most notable of these is the Reinstatement of “sustainability” as one of the purposes of the Water act.  It is however difficult to understand how “sustainability” can be a purpose with unlimited take of underground water allowed for both mining and CSG operations.

Our other concern and it is a major one is the robustness of “make good” agreements.  Politicians speak of “make good” as the Holy Grail and as if it will solve all water problems.  PRA and some law firms do not agree and many landowners are probably are unaware that “make good” does not apply to “new” infrastructure, may be difficult to claim if not identified in the underground water impact report, is slow to be implemented.  All in all it is just not robust enough.

Our submission on this Bill and extracts from our previous submission can be found at:

Cattle Ticks regulations by Dale Stiller

The Qld government is bringing in new regulations for the management of cattle ticks.  You can have a say by responding to this government discussion paper.  Closing time for submission is now extended to February 29.

Along with some other PRA members I attended the meeting at Taroom on Sunday January 10.  I went because I knew there would be a lot of experience at the meeting, for the greater Taroom area was very successful in eradicating ticks and pushing the tick line back a considerable distance.

Those attending were dubious of the governments motivation behind what has been presented in the new regulation provisions for cattle tick as part of the new Biosecurity Act.  The government’s chief vet, Allison Crook was told politely but very firmly of the many impracticalities of how the government proposes to manage ticks.

The language in the regulations of mutual obligations is seen as the landowners having the obligations while the government has written itself out of prescribed day to day activity.

Many raised the concern that the tick line will be only a single boundary fence and how unfair it was that the neighbour on the clean side of the line is carrying the burden for all other cattle producer in the clean areas.  The government is offering no support to these people.  The government gives itself the role of compliance.  Compliance is a word Qld landowners from past experience have good reason to be very wary of when used by government.


Dale Stiller

Dale Stiller, Chairman

Property Rights Australia

Phone:  07 49 214 000
Fax:       07 49271 888

Members' Newsletter 14th January 2016