Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who announced the new land clearing policies.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who announced the new land clearing policies. Patrick Woods

Labor hopeful slams his own party's land clearing policy

MARK O'Brien, the ALP's candidate for the seat of Warrego, has slammed his own party's land clearing legislation.

In a statement sent to the Western Times, he accused the government of not looking and listening to the concerns from the bush about the re-regulation of tree clearing for agriculture. He said he had several times pleaded for Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to travel to rural Queensland, to no avail.

"The Deputy Premier would do herself a great deal of good by allowing people who live in this area to educate her on the topic and not be hoodwinked by extremists," he said.

Mr O'Brien was the ALP candidate for the seat of Warrego, which includes his hometown Charleville of which he was once mayor. He said the Premier had referred to him as her "eyes and ears in the bush" during the 2015 election campaign.

He is now chair of South West Natural Resources Management, an independent partly publicly funded body that regulate and organise graziers.

The ALP vowed to roll back the Newman government's 2012 deregulation of vegetation management law before the last election and introduced amendment legislation into Queensland parliament last year. Critics say the legislation will rest on inaccurate maps of protected zones, and if farmers violate them will be presumed guilty under the law. In Mulga country, some farmers say that could lead to an unproductive monoculture of the hardy plant.

The LNP and Katter's Australia Party both oppose the legislation, which can only pass with the support of Rob Pyne and Billy Gordon.

Labor argues that the legislation is necessary to reduce clearing rates which Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says have "increased exponentially".


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