Regional plans released but co-existence still undefined

Landholders says they want more detail on the Darling Downs and Central Queensland regional plans before they will have confidence in the protection it will offer.

The regional plans aim to resolve some of the land use conflict between farming and the developing resources industry on Darling Downs and Central Queensland.

The plans identify where the priority agricultural areas are and the criteria mining and gas companies need to meet to operate in those areas.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the regional plan ensures the agricultural industry across the Darling Downs will never be displaced by a resources industry or any other alternative land use.

The plans were gazetted in state parliament on Friday October 18, however they still don’t provide a specific definition of what co-existence is.

Darling Downs landholder and member of the regional plan taskforce Stuart Armitage says he’s yet to see where it sits in legislation and the definition of co-existence.

“As far as we’re concerned a landholders the whole deal is going to be what sits in the co-existence criteria.”

“We believe that if you’re going to have proper co-existence nothing can be done, especially on this priority agriculture land, without the consent of the landholder.”

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the government is seeking to define the co-existence in broad terms.

“This plan will put landholders in a much stronger position because it will allow to put forward their case as to why whatever’s being proposed will constrict or constrain their agricultural enterprise and if they can establish their case then the proposition won’t proceed.”

However agriculture lobby group AgForce President, Ian Burnett, says the framework has fallen well short fell well short of what was needed to ensure premium agricultural land would remain unaffected by the operations of the mining and resources sector.

“The Regional Plan Priority Agricultural Areas cover less than half of the current cropping area within the Darling Downs and only about 40 per cent of those in Central Queensland.”

“Furthermore, the Plan’s priority land uses do not include improved grazing areas, such as dry land cropping or the water infrastructure essential to operating irrigated agriculture.”

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