8th March 2016
Senate CSG Inquiry
Submissions close on March 14. There isn’t a lot of time but if you believe that you have an account that should be known about your experience with the CSG industry, either send a submission in yourself or get it to PRA to be included in a larger submission.
Cattle tick consultation
In trying to avoid its responsibilities the Qld government under estimated the level of concern out there on the cattle tick issue. PRA sent in a submission written by Peter Jesser, highlighting that beef producers are not happy with a stationary line approach – without being proactive the tick control will deteriorate. The approach is especially unfair on those who hold the clean side of the boundary along the tick line.
The submissions closed with combined written & online submissions totalling over 1,000 which is a very large response. This is a consultancy review only – the minister only needs to take into account the submissions before making a decision. There are no hearings, no appeals. The changes will be announced and come into effect as regulation on July 1, 2016.
You can continue to have your say about cattle ticks by signing an E-Petition that is still open. You need to act right away. Click on this link below and on the web page click on the e-petition #2540-16, ‘Cattle tick management’.
High value agriculture (HVA) clearing permits
The PRA board continues to vigorously pursue this issue. For Federal Department of Environment public servants taking an activist interpretation of the EPBC Act and indiscriminately applying it broad scale to all development is a practice that must not become established. This could have repercussions not just too all new northern development but for everywhere in Australia.
The Department sent another letter to landowners with Qld approved HVA permits in early February. PRA received a letter from the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt. Mr Hunt’s letter revealed that PRA’s position had been strongly supported by the member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, Senator Canavan and O’Sullivan.
PRA board sent another letter to Mr Hunt on February 11 stating our belief (written far more diplomatically) that the Department’s second letter was an abuse of process; the Minister’s response was unsatisfactory and explanations were inconsistent justifications. There had been too little consideration for landowners who apparently are not valued against fears of public backlash by environmental organisations.
On February 22, two Department of Environment staff flew from Canberra to Roma meeting with available PRA board members, Dale Stiller, Ashley McKay and Kerry Ladbrook. It was quite apparent from this conversation that the Department had been influenced in their decision making by representation by Birdlife Australia, TWS, ACF, WWF and the Qld government. The turn of phrase used was consistent with the alarmism being spread by activists that is without context. To say that the 5 properties with the largest areas cleared will not be approved by the Federal department indicates a prejudice. Incredibly they thought that there were occasions were regrowth control even on current Category X mapping should come under their attention. They thought clearing was going to cause sedimentation on the reef but appeared unaware that landowners could not clear within 100 metres from a water course. In fact they did not indicate if they had a full grasp on how extensive the application process is on environmental criteria to gain approval for a HVA permit.
Be assured that the board members present presented a strong case on landowners behalf.
Prosecution for firebreak clearing
Michael Baker owns property at Eidsvold that neighbours a State Forest. After fires coming out of the State Forest burnt out large portions of his property he sought a joint approach that these events would not be repeated. That proved fruitless so he sought advice of how a fire break could be constructed on his own property. Numerous attempts of communication resulted in numerous conflicting and confusing interpretations of the guidelines. Michael cleared fire breaks and still while the Newman LNP government was in power compliance officers came to the property to start investigations. This case has for the last four weeks been prosecuted in court with a cost to the State so far of $1 million. Michael is being represented by lawyer Tom Marland and barrister Phil Sheridan – both have a long association with PRA.
This Bill that could be presented to the Qld parliament any day that provides no tangible improvements to conservation in National Parks but disadvantages people associated with these National parks.
The letter in the above link was sent to all cross bench MP’s. It identified that left out in the future of involvement in National Parks will be aboriginal communities, eco-tourism operators and families on ex forest grazing leases. The former Beattie/ Bligh governments in political posturing, no assessment of conservation values indiscriminately by a stroke of a pen made forest grazing leases into National Parks. Many of these are rolling leases which means that the leaseholder has the right for renewal; this new Bill will take away that right.
Read about PRA members Robert & Sharon Lohse in this link.
NSW Native Vegetation Act and Qld Vegetation Management Act
In both States the issue that really is about landowners being able to maintain a balance of the mix of different types of vegetation to enable the production of food, is heating up. NSW has a proposed, very long time coming, reform. In Qld the sensible reforms occurred in May 2013 and the current government has made it clear that it will (if it can) reverse these amendments.
Every attempt is being made by green activists to propagate exaggerated emotive claims.
The PRA board is working along with others in extended networks to protect the rights of our members and all landowners. No doubt this issue will the subject to feature largely in the next newsletter.
Productivity Commission – Regulation of Agriculture
Thanks to Joanne Rea, PRA sent in a submission to this Inquiry. If you stop and think about it there is a lot of different issues that can be written about where regulation has an adverse impact on agriculture. Volumes could be written. The PRA submission wrote about a number of areas and included a list at the end of other matters that could have been covered.
White Paper into Beef Language and Standards
Although not a usual area for PRA to involve ourselves this White Paper presented enough areas of concern over loss of privacy and rights that a submission was sent in – again thanks to Joanne. From the conclusion: “The bulk of this paper is nothing more than an attempt to put producers under an increased but unknown level of scrutiny, by unknown or unsympathetic bodies, and with an unknown level of privacy or legal protection. Our advocacy bodies need to take another look at this paper without the spin. No producer problems have been addressed but the paper seeks to impose multiple obligations. It presents multiple risk points and copious amounts of red and green tape without any guarantee of premiums.”
Dale Stiller, Chairman
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49 214 000
Fax: 07 49271 888
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