HEAD TO HEAD: Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and Labor's candidate for Flynn Zac Beers.
HEAD TO HEAD: Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and Labor's candidate for Flynn Zac Beers. File

FARM LIFE: Major parties clash over vegetation laws

FEDERAL member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has hit out at his competition saying the electorate's Labor candidate did not have the best interests of farmers in mind.

Mr O'Dowd challenged Zac Beers to defend the region's farmers by being the first candidate to stand up to Bill Shorten's plan to impose blanket Queensland-style vegetation management laws across the nation.

The LNP member said Mr Beers had failed farmers, despite trying to win their favour more than 12 months ago.

 

"Under Labor's unfair carbon tax plans, Central Queensland can't and won't be a food bowl but you won't hear a peep from Mr Beers about it," Mr O'Dowd said.

"On April 1, Labor declared it would impose another set of laws on Australian farmers, modelled on Queensland's clearing laws - laws which punish farmers for managing vegetation, rather than rewarding them for managing vegetation, on their land.

 

"As we've already seen in Queensland, our farmers have been forced to lock up large parts of their properties in the name of 'vegetation management', surrendering productive land without any compensation or financial reward."

 

Labor's plan for more renewable energy and cheaper power involves aligning the rest of the country with Queensland's regulations.

"Where states properly regulate land clearing, such as in Queensland, Labor will take no action," the policy details.

Mr O'Dowd said Labor's policy outlined their plan to accrue carbon 'gains' by stopping farmers from managing their own land.

"If farmers can't earn a living off their country, then Mr Beers should be the first one to admit it and stand up to his party," he said.

"Labor should not take something from our farmers for nothing."

Mr O'Dowd said the LNP would establish a $30 million pilot fund to reward farmers for the biodiversity on their properties.

"We will also implement a $4 million biodiversity certification scheme so farmers can get a premium here and overseas for their product."

Labor's Hinkler and Flynn candidates Richard Pascoe and Zac Beers stood united and said the party policy referred to by O'Dowd would change nothing for Queensland farmers.

"We're not imposing any new laws, regulations or conditions on Queensland farmers," Mr Pascoe said.

"Labor's position is clear, we'll work with industry to introduce a scheme that protects jobs while looking after the environment.

"This is a cheap scare campaign by a desperate government trying to pull the wool over Queenslander's eyes.

"Thankfully, our community knows better."