HOLES have been found in the State Government's strategic cropping land policy framework, with concerns it does not help farmers dealing with the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.
Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Dan Galligan said that, while the policy framework was quite clear in protecting against open-cut coal mines, it remained unclear how much protection it would afford against the rapidly expanding CSG industry.
“Farmers confronting challenges with CSG expansion won't necessarily have all their problems solved with this policy,” Mr Galligan said
“This is one of many ongoing challenges we will be working with the government on solutions for.
“Safeguarding our best land from permanent alienation is an important acknowledgement that agriculture will still be producing for Queensland even after the minerals are gone,” Mr Galligan said.
Carbon Sense Coalition chairman Viv Forbes said the policy would stop farmers subdividing their land.
“Any other developments on their blighted land will be banned or difficult,” Mr Forbes said.
“Imagine the obstacles should they want to develop a racehorse stud, a feedlot, a new house or a private forest?” he said.
“Farmers will be condemned to be pastoral peasants on cropping land controlled forever, paddock by paddock, by an anti-farming, anti-mining bureaucracy.
“If Queensland’s politicians were really concerned about food security they would not have sterilised millions of acres of grazing land under scrub clearing bans, conservation zones, heritage areas, national parks and other anti-farming bans,” Mr Forbes said.
A Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) spokesperson said the framework would not apply to subdivision applications already approved, nor to proposed subdivisions in areas already designated for urban development.
“If the land proposed to be subdivided is, in fact, strategic cropping land and the subdivision will permanently alienate the strategic cropping land, the subdivision will generally not be approved,” they said. Developments like feedlots were unlikely to be approved.
The spokesperson said if new developments like a feed lot was likely to permanently alienate the land; the development would generally not be approved.
“Guidelines to assist landholders determine if their proposed development will permanently alienate the strategic cropping land will be developed.”
In regards to concerns it would have to be used for cropping forever, the spokesperson said once it was confirmed that the land was strategic cropping land, it would be protected in accordance with the policy framework with the objective that it will be available for cropping purposes into the future.
Concerns have been raised about the impact on mixed crop-cattle farms, and the spokesperson said the policy was unlikely to effect existing farming activities that did not permanently alienate the land from being available to be cropped in the future.
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