TALL TIMBER: Clyde Cameron disagrees with the current land clearing laws
TALL TIMBER: Clyde Cameron disagrees with the current land clearing laws Greg Bray

Veg-leg angers Calliope farmer

LOCAL farmer, Clyde Cameron says the State Government's vegetation management laws are so stringent that anyone selectively cutting down a few small trees will find themselves in court.

He said his property outside of Calliope was a bush block of 1800 acres where he runs and fattens "a few cattle".

"It's buggered now because the property is choked with regrowth," he said.

"I spent $6000 getting an environmental scientist to report that we were looking after our block, but the government said I was wrong.

"How do they judge that from satellites?"

Gladstone MP, Glenn Butcher said he supported the re-introduced laws and ending broad-scale clearing had been the policy of Queensland Labor for almost two decades.

"Landholders will still be able to conduct necessary clearing for farm operations such as clearing to harvest fodder to feed stock, establish property infrastructure, control weeds and disaster management or recovery.

"This legislation will protect the vegetation that protects the reef."

But Mr Cameron disagreed.

"I'm an agri-socialist. Labor people think I'm a cow cockie, and farmers think I'm a socialist. I think I'm an agri-socialist," he said.

"Water running off land draining into Awoonga Dam is not going to affect the reef any more than industry dams will."

He said things had changed since the 1960's when he cleared land for freehold purposes.

"The government sent out inspectors to make sure you'd cleared all the trees," he said.

"We'd try to save some trees for cattle camps but they wanted those cut down too."

"But if you clear all the trees the regrowth springs up like hairs on a dogs back, which is not good for the land or for grazing cattle.

"They were wrong back then and they're wrong now, and the environment is the casualty.

Mr Cameron said the answer lay in consultation.

"The politicians and bureaucrats need to see how, with selective clearing, I can turn my farm into a productive enterprise."