'Lack of education': Farmer trades barbs with MP Butcher as protest heats up
CALLIOPE farmers Will and Katie Wilson hope politicians will deny the government's ability to change tree-clearing laws.
Today, the state government will debate new proposed land clearing laws - and decide whether to approve it.
The bill, if approved, will scrap the LNP's 2013 vegetation management framework, which Labor has dubbed as "more relaxed".
To be passed, the bill will need support from the government's cross-benchers who have remained tight-lipped on the issue.
Mr Wilson wants the government to instead consider a case-by-case approach.
Watch: Farmers protest in Bundaberg about the land clearing act changes
Gladstone State MP Glenn Butcher, who was the chair of the committee that delivered the new bill's recommendations, stood by the changes.
One of the main changes is a reverse onus of proof, requiring land holders to prove they didn't illegally bulldoze.
"Agforce and the farmers federation are very passionate and they are very motivated to try to stop these laws from getting passed," Mr Butcher said.
"Land clearing was slowed down to a trickle last time these laws were introduced and production on farms increased. We have seen the impacts on the coral reef and we need to make sure it stays the same for generations to come."
Mr Wilson, who runs cattle on 50,000 acres of predominantly Box Eucalyptus country, says the best country has trees as well as good grass cover.
"The argument illustrates a lack of education because we are not farming an open, natural habitat, we're developing businesses on country that has been cleared years ago and it's our job to protect and maintain the grass cover to protect our own asset and the environment at the same time."
The passionate producer, who attended a rally in Brisbane against the changes to the land clearing act, claims the industry is facing too much uncertainty and a fear of retrospective clearing.
AgForce Qld Regional Manager, Sharon Howard was involved in organising a protest in Brisbane against the recommendations.
"The committee members read the submissions, listened to the presentations and then voted exactly the way their political parties told them to with no regard to the time, effort and science."