AGFORCE Queensland has welcomed commonsense changes to the way landholders can renew grazing leases announced by State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps in Longreach last week.
The changes to the State Rural Leasehold Land Strategy, formerly known as Delbessie, will recognise landholders as best placed to ensure sustainable environmental outcomes are achieved in conjunction with sound grazing practices on their leasehold land.
AgForce chief executive officer, Charles Burke said the changes would lead to a clear reduction in red tape for the grazing industry, a sector which has continually proven its ability to care for land and contributes billions of dollars to the Queensland economy annually.
"Scientific assessment of the land condition of rural leases shows that more than 85% of these leases are in good condition," Mr Burke said.
"The changes announced to the strategy will lift an administrative burden from primary producers and allow them to get on with the business of sustainably producing food and revenue for Queensland."
Key changes include:
- Decoupling the future conservation area component of SRLLS, meaning lessees will no longer fear that the Government will seize property for the purpose of a national park during the lease renewal process;
- Officers renewing leases will now have authority to grant some vegetation approvals for a period of up to 10 years;
- A new Land Management Agreement template will be introduced which is substantially reduced in size, and up to one third of the size of the original and often cumbersome LMA document;
- Removal of the requirement for a five-year self-assessment.
Mr Burke said the reforms were a positive interim step preceding the handing down of the findings of the Inquiry into the Future and Continued Relevance of Government Land Tenure Arrangements in Queensland due in March next year.
"Comprehensive tenure reform will be the only way to address ongoing issues such as rent and viability and to restore certainty to the grazing industry of Queensland," Mr Burke said.