Michael McCabe from the Capricorn Conservation Council is campaigning against changes to logging regulation which could open up state forests to logging. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Michael McCabe from the Capricorn Conservation Council is campaigning against changes to logging regulation which could open up state forests to logging. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Bushland in danger from changes to tree clearing laws

THOUSANDS of hectares of bushland in Central Queensland could be at risk.

The 'Bushland at risk of renewed clearing in Queensland' report shows proposals to wind back Queensland's landmark tree-clearing laws would be a disaster for the region's bushland, if implemented.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman says the report showed that claims from sections of the Queensland Cabinet that the proposed rollback would not damage the environment were incorrect.

"Around central Queensland, more than 300,000 hectare of mature and recovering bushland will be put at risk of being bulldozed," he said.

"Areas include habitat for the bridled nailtail wallaby, which was almost driven to extinction by land clearing in the 1950s and 1960s."

Capricorn Conservation Council co-ordinator Michael McCabe is shocked by the report, which suggests 360,000 ha of mature forests could be cleared in the region.

"We fear some land managers will test the limits of the proposed 'simplification' of the Vegetation Management Act."

"CCC applauds the many land managers who support nature refuges, protect bushland and stream vegetation," he said.

Mr McCabe says protecting vegetation helps safeguard water quality, saves our depleted top soils, and storing carbon.

Forest laws will help farmers to grow, Minister says

QUEENSLAND'S Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps says no changes will be made to the strict controls in place on vegetation management activities.

"The changes we are proposing to make to vegetation management laws will support growth in agricultural production, provide jobs and boost regional economies," he said.

"The reforms will not, as the WWF is suggesting, allow indiscriminate land clearing to occur or threaten the habitat of endangered animals."

Mr Cripps said the package of reforms maintained key environmental protections such as buffer zones along creeks and rivers in sensitive reef areas.

"I urge Queenslanders to see through the emotive claims peddled by extreme environmental groups and view these reforms as a genuine effort by the Newman Government to restore balance to vegetation management laws," he said.