Land reforms which secure tenure for farmers welcomed
QUEENSLAND'S peak agricultural body AgForce has welcomed changes to legislation which will provide security of tenure for farmers, graziers and primary producers across the state.
Under the landmark reforms, passed in State Parliament this week, farmers and graziers on rural leasehold land will have greater security of tenure, reduced land rental costs, and better pathways to freehold title.
AgForce general president Ian Burnett said on Wednesday the reforms were some of the most significant changes made to the agriculture industry in decades.
"We have co-ordinated hundreds of meetings, submissions, discussions and even peer-reviewed research to determine recommendations we would take to government on the future of tenure and land rents," he said.
"Through passing the legislation and releasing the regulations the State Government has shown it has listened to the needs of rural Queensland and what our sector requires to have a strong and secure foundation upon which to capitalise on the vast opportunities that lay ahead."
Mr Burnett said under the reforms the cost of conversion for perpetual leases in the next financial year will be about 13.1 times their rent at the full 1.5% of unimproved value.
"We are particularly thrilled the state has listened to our reasoning that leases are only worth as much as the income they generate and have therefore ruled out using the full unimproved value as a basis for converting," he said.
"This change also recognises the fact that most landholders seeking conversion of leasehold to freehold had already purchased the property and, more often than not, invested millions of their own dollars in improving this land over generations."
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the changes were part of a package of reforms aimed at helping primary producers across the state.
He said it showed the government had a strong plan for a brighter future for rural and regional Queensland.
"The passing of the Land and Other Amendments Bill means that graziers now have access to rolling term leases that deliver one of the most critical ingredients for agricultural businesses, long term investment certainty," he said.
"Graziers can now confidently invest in their properties and businesses knowing their leases will be renewed on a rolling basis.
"This legislation also delivers on a key promise to reduce land rental costs for farmers and graziers and allow easier, more affordable, access to freehold title."