Producer says he faces losses of up to $30,000
MIDDLEMOUNT cattle breeder John Baker is bitterly disappointed with the State Government's push to rewind vegetation management laws.
The landowner operates Booroondarra, a 35,000-acre Brigalow block, and was invited to address the parliamentary Agriculture and Environment committee when it visited Emerald last month.
The committee has been engaged to formulate recommendations to the government after a push by deputy premier Jackie Trad to rewind vegetation management laws was defeated in a vote in February.
Ms Trad reintroduced the laws in March which were then referred to the Agricultural and Environment committee.
Mr Baker has launched an online awareness campaign through the agricultural lobby group AgForce Queensland with a video that has been viewed more than 20,000 times on Facebook.
"I have a paddock that is the perfect example of the difference between managing Brigalow scrub and just letting it go and it's not good news for the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"AgForce released the video and it's been fantastic to see how many people have actually watched it and are now aware of the dangers of not looking after country."
The main reason cited by the deputy premier for the windback of the vegetation laws is to protect the Great Barrier Reef from sediment runoff although Mr Baker says locking up country is what damages the reef.
"The scrub on Booroondarra was cleared in 1986 to allow grass to grow to ensure the property could sustain a herd of cattle,'' he said.
The grass cover protects the reef by holding the soil together. Too many trees and the grass can't compete and the result is major erosion and soil runoff."
The grazier's Brigalow management program has been obstructed by mining offset laws.
"I sold 20,000 acres to a local mine which I lease back but the area that has been severely eroded has been locked up for the past 10 years as part of an offset area. If I could, I would clear some of the regrowth, allow the grass to grow again and the erosion problem would go away. Right now, that soil is running straight down Roper Creek, into the MacKenzie River and on to the reef. Cattle don't eat trees and too many trees beat out the grass which leaves the country vulnerable to erosion."
Mr Baker, who runs the property with his wife Marni, estimates the loss of production to be at least $30,000 a year.
Gregory MP Lachlan Millar and shadow Minister for Natural Resources Andrew Cripps will be hosting forums throughout Central Queensland to discuss the government's proposed changes.
Emerald - Wednesday June 22, from 9am to 11am at the Emerald Explorer's Inn.
Clermont - Wednesday June 22, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm at the Commercial Hotel.
RSVP to email@example.com or 4913 1000.