Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps railed against the “extreme greens”, accusing conservation groups of having misled the public through scaremongering.
Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps railed against the “extreme greens”, accusing conservation groups of having misled the public through scaremongering. Contributed

Conservation groups frustrated by legislation law

IT IS a law that angered the Queensland Opposition, the environmentalists and even the Federal Government, but there it was unlikely to be stopped when State Parliament sat this week.

The plainly-named Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill - designed to allow for a relaxation of some land clearing legislation - frustrated both the Labor Opposition and conservation groups.

Producers and farmer groups, including AgForce Queensland, supported the government's plan.

It would allow for land-clearing permits in cases where it could create "high value agricultural land".

The changes would also let owners clear their own properties as long as it was "low impact".

Before Parliament sat on Tuesday, conservationists, including the Wilderness Society, criticised the government for allowing a relaxation of the regulations.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps railed against the "extreme greens", accusing conservation groups of having misled the public through scaremongering.

"Their behaviour is disgraceful," he said.

"Self-assessable codes can ensure, just as good if not better, environmental outcomes when used by landholders."

Opposition natural resources spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller labelled the government "extreme brownies with scorched earth policies".

Mrs Miller said the government wanted to take the state back to the bad old days when environmental issues were largely ignored.

"It confirms the Newman government is the biggest threat to Queensland's unique natural heritage," she said.

"From this day forward, let everyone in this government be known as "extreme brownies".

The bill also punched above its weight, igniting fury from the Federal Government for allowing drought-affected cattle to graze on national parks.

It was an emergency measure to save the lives of 25,000 head of cattle which was supported not just by the farming community but also by the RSPCA.

The legislation would allow grazing in these federally-protected areas until at least the end of the year.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the state was acting like a cowboy.

"(Opening up National Parks) only provides fodder for a fraction of the cattle and still leaves them with no access to water," Mr Burke said.

He said it was up to Premier Campbell Newman to ensure farmers could access low interest loans offered by the Federal Government.

"Legally, I don't have the full range of powers available to me when I stopped the Victorian government from trampling the Alpine National Park," Mr Burke said.

"If I'm unable to block the Newman government on this occasion, then I will be obtaining advice to see what can be changed to prevent this sort of cowboy behaviour from ever happening again."

The laws were expected to be passed on Tuesday night.



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