Graziers prepare for the worst as parliament sits

Producer Scott Sargood is calling for townships to band together against the changes.
Producer Scott Sargood is calling for townships to band together against the changes. Molly Hancock

GRAZIERS issued a call to arms prior to today's parliamentary meeting, where a likely item on the Labor agenda will be the reintroduction of stronger vegetation management laws.

Charleville producers Scott and Adma Sargood, who run the 34,300-hectare property Halton, outside Morven, have created a petition with the support of Warrego MP Ann Leahy, opposing potential legislation changes.

An outline for the proposed changes has yet to be released; however, Mr Sargood said, if it shared any similarity with Labor's 2016 framework, it could have frightening implications for outback towns.

"We are in the middle of a drought and we are running on the current tree-clearing laws, using the mulga as fodder for the cattle,” he said.

"If they put (restrictions) on it, there would be tens of thousands of stock in the mulga lands that would be affected.

"That's like saying to someone, 'Okay there won't be any dinner tomorrow night and you won't be getting any ever again'.

"You're putting tens of thousands of people's stock in that situation. You just can't turn a food supply off like that in the middle of a drought - it's not humane and it's not right.”

The duo has been handing out the petition across the west with the access to the online version available from today.

"Nothing has been put on the table to confirm anything yet. It's the unknown that is scary, we are going from day to day not knowing what the future holds.

"The idea of the petition was to gain support from businesses and townspeople in the area,” Mr Sargood said. "I was raised in a small town and I know how important the grazing industry is to the smaller towns.

"I'm hoping to make the government aware it's not just the graziers who will be hurt (by the changes) but the whole community.

"Depending on how far they go with these laws, it will be like a cancer, eating up these small towns.”

"Annastacia (Palaszczuk) stood up and said she was here for the people of Queensland,” Ms Sargood added. "But she doesn't represent the people out here.

"If she goes through with this, she is signing everyone's death warrant”

Charleville business owner Craig Scott said the impact on graziers would have a flow-on effects.

"The changes, as I see them, will de-value local pastoral holdings and make it almost impossible for the graziers, depending on felled fodder, to feed their stock and realise an income,” he said.

"The roll-on effect of these proposed changes will no doubt create a further downturn in the already depressed local business community, as confidence and cash flow diminish within the grazing sector.”

Maranoa producer Rob Loughnan, who runs cattle on his property Alicker, said changes to regrowth management was a main concern for woodland property owners.

"There will be a lot of people waiting with bated breath to see what's in therebecause last time it came up it was a violation of basic principles of justice in terms of ownership of freehold land,” Mr Loughnan said.

"I'm opposed to the fact that they are looking at this again, last time the Katter party was able to come to the rescue and overturn the previous laws but I can't see too many ways around it this time.

"I will be interested to see if they place restrictions on regrowth, which is something many property owners in the woodlands- type area will be effected by.

"At some stage everyone's trees regrow to an extent, but normally we can manage that in our own way.

"We manage these trees to allow the grass to grow, as the trees suck up moisture from the ground.

"It just remains to be seen how much they are going to clamp down.”

On her visit to Roma last month, Premier Palaszczuk offered little respite, as she said Labor would honour its election commitment to the Greens.

"Let's just make it very clear that everyone knows our election commitment and we are honouring those commitments,” she said.

"And, of course, through the committee process there will be ample opportunity for people to have their say and we will not be bypassing that process.”

More information available at www.facebook. com/scottsargoodofficial/.

Topics:  drought graziers labor parliament vegetation management laws

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