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Strategic Cropping Lands will not end resource conflicts

Massive open cut mine development in "strategic cropping land" of the Darling Downs Queensland

The Queensland Greens say that the state government’s Strategic Cropping Lands Protection Areas are a good start but the overall policy is not going to end resource conflicts.

‘It is great to see the government has recognised the need to protect the rich farming lands of southern and central Queensland,’ said Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors.

‘Farmers in other productive areas such as the Mary River Valley will find that they have to prove to government and mining lease holders that their land has a history of cropping as well as the 8 criteria of the Protection Areas.

‘Even farmers safely within the boundaries of the Protection Areas still have to face on the ground assessment before their land is guaranteed protection and may be subject to mining applications under “exceptional circumstances”.

‘Anyone with experience of the Native Title and Environmental Impact Assessment processes knows how expensive, bureaucratic and fraught with anxieties these assessment procedures can be.

‘Just reading the clauses which allow miners to “mitigate” harm to cropping set off alarm bells – such provisions have only brought heartache to those involved in wildlife habitat protection.

‘Then there are the bureaucratic hoops of eight criteria which include the arbitrariness of a maximum 5% slope.

‘It’s a dream for consultants and another bureaucratic layer for an already heavily regulated rural sector.

‘Multinational mining companies can afford to play this game endlessly; but imposing this on family farms is ridiculous.’

Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said the state government should give an ironclad guarantee of support for the agricultural sector that has the capacity to be productive for centuries into the future.

‘It seems instead that both major parties prefer a short-term economy based on fossil fuels that bring prosperity for two or three decades and uncertainty thereafter.

‘It would be better just to say “No” instead of this bureaucratic game of trying to appease two incompatible industries.’

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