Given that Queensland has seen some egregious examples of land clearing in the past – recall George Quaid in the 1980s – there is clearly a role for Government in regulating activities affecting native vegetation. However, it is possible Government has now gone too far. In its new report on Queensland’s Agriculture and Resource Industries, the Queensland Parliament’s Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee observed that nine separate pieces of legislation and policy deal with vegetation management (see p. 36).
Clearly there is a need for a review of these regulations that, at the very least, will tidy them up, reducing the amount of material landholders need to read and understand. This would significant reduce compliance costs and would mean that landholders, farmers especially, might identify some land for development that they are currently wary of developing in case they breach vegetation management regulations they don’t understand. Whether there needs to be a change in the balance struck between the economy and environment is a more challenging question.