QCL – PRA Comment

9th October 2006

It is no surprise that ABARE has found the VMA will cost Queensland an additional $500million for forgone development in the Brigalow and Mulga Lands.

            People must remember that the 2003 DPI Report which our erstwhile Premier ordered to be shredded, also established a $900 million cost to the Community from thickening vegetation.

            The Costs of the insane VMA were not properly considered by the Government as they knew full well that almost all of this cost would be paid by landholders who don’t vote for them.

            A figure of well over $2 billion is a more realistic figure of loss to the Sate of Queensland.

            Calls for more funds to help the landholders are well intentioned, but do not address the critical and destructive environmental consequences of the VMA.

            No money will fix the problem of uncontrolled tree thickening sucking vital water supplies out of Queensland’s grazing lands, rivers and domestic and urban supplies.

            From the Wilcox Report in Texas to the Scott Report in South Africa, to the University of Newcastle, to the British Department of International Development, reports of trees sucking streams dry abound.  A report in Science in December 2005 cited 600 observations of substantial stream flow reductions following afforestation.  Planted trees and native trees all suck water, if they are in sufficient density as in the Woodlands of Queensland.

            As well in July 2005 American and Brazilian Scientists found that trees in the Amazon are returning carbon to the atmosphere in just five years and are not a carbon sink.

            A further article in Nature surfaced in January 06 showing that trees emitted methane gas, while in March 03 came the news that some Pine Trees can cause smog and acid rain due to their emissions.

            So the objectives of the VMA, namely to give Queensland a better Environment on several fronts, has now to be seen to be destructive to the environment it was supposed to fix.

            The only way to fix the mess is to accept that a dreadful mistake has been made and measures put in place to correct those mistakes.

            Minister Shine needs help, Landholders need help and so does the Environment of Queensland.

            PRA is prepared to walk Minister Shine through the Science backed problems and demonstrate on the ground, the damage caused by the VMA.

            The only things that will prevent the VMA disaster being fixed are wounded pride and political expediency.

By Ashley Mc Kay, PRA Board Member.  Article for the Queensland Country Life