20/5/01
(1) New Ministerial veg committee for Qld
(2) WPSQ asks for Reps on Veg Committees
(3) Just Terms for NT & ACT acqisitions
(4) NRM Inconsistencies
(5) Barns case - Right to harvest yes - with material change no
(6) Limbo lease proposal - fiveways landcare

>                A Quick reminder to anyone who is new to news & views.
> "Landholders for the environment" is aiming to keep people up to date on
> relevant issues, and in time educate the media, public and politicians of
> environmental and rights issues, aiming for solutions that fulfill our aims.
> Everything is done voluntarily and no membership fees asked for. If anyone
> wants help to find out things like "what research there is into the best tree
> density for biodiversity "   (to publicise on the web site) then feel free to
> check it out and send it to us. . We will be very appreciative. Also News
> articles, contacts (people, web sites, organisations etc)  Your opinions and
> ideas to improve a situation are very welcome also.  Feel free to send all or
> parts of news & views to other interested people also.
>
> Here is part of a Press Release from the QLD Govt
>
> NEW MINISTERIAL VEGETATION MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE APPOINTED
>
> Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson today announced appointments to
> the new Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vegetation Management.
>
> Mr Robertson said the 12-member committee, to be chaired by Barrister and
> Mediator Dr Ted Christie, would provide him with independent expertise and
> advice on strategic vegetation management issues including the operation of
> existing laws.
>
> "They will provide me with invaluable independent advice on issues such as
> voluntary initiatives by landholders, consistency between draft regional
> vegetation management plans, the operation of the Vegetation Management Act
> 1999, the Land Act 1994 and State vegetation management policies," he said.
>
> Committee Members
>
> Representing scientific interests:
>
> · Dr Carla Catterall, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Griffith
> University;
> · Dr Mike Hopkins, former Deputy Director and Research Program Leader CRC
> for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Director and Officer in Charge, CSIRO
> Tropical Forest Research Centre, Atherton;
> · Dr Mike Olson, Director, Landscape Assessment, Management and
> Rehabilitation Pty Ltd, Brisbane;
> · Professor Hugh Possingham, Department of Zoology and Mathematics,
> University of Queensland, Brisbane
>
> Representing community interests:
>
> · Cr Mike Berwick, Mayor of Douglas Shire Council, Mossman (for local
> authority interests);
> · Colin Creighton, Dalrymple Heights, formerly Executive Director National
> Land and Water Resources Audit, Canberra and previously Chair, North
> Queensland Regional Assessment Panel Landcare (for rural extension
> interests);
> · Michael Petter, Chair, Steering Committee for the Common Nature
> Conservation Classification System and Chair, Regional Communities Program,
> Brisbane (for regional community interests);
> · Felicity Wishart, Coordinator, Queensland Conservation Council, Brisbane
> (for conservation interests)
>
> Representing Landholder interests:
>
> · Gus McGown, 'Jhelum Plains', Bollon (South-West Queensland grazing
> interests);
> · Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Queensland Cane Growers Organisation Ltd, Brisbane
> (coastal agriculture interests);
> · John Heelan, 'Pasha', Clermont (Central Highlands grazing interests);
> · Dr Bob Morrish, 'Springfield', Windorah (Central-west Queensland grazing
> interests)
>--------------------------------------------------------------
>  This request comes from Jan Oliver (coordinator of the Wildlife Preservation
> society of Queensland).  WPSQ now owns half a property and is going to manage
> it for conservation and grazing outcomes. Many landholders consider this
> approach to be what the greenie approach should be.
>
> Hi Leon
> I'm hoping someone on your new network can help me and Queensland in
> general!
> WPSQ is putting up representatives on the vegetation management
> committees throughout the state, the only conservation group to do so
> (the others have withdrawn!). We are searching for a grazier (male or
> female), who would have 'green intentions' and be prepared to represent
> us (WPSQ) on the North western highlands area of the Northern region of DNR
> (Mt
> Isa). (*Several Graziers are representing WPSQ in other veg management areas
> of the state already)
> Unfortunately, our members there are school librarians and not
> really suitable to sit on committees and argue about how much vegetation
> should be cleared or retained, and if certain areas are of high
> conservation value under the new Act.
> -- I realise that some of your contacts are very against the Act, but I am
> hoping you may have some contacts with people from Winton north to the Gulf.
> We would supply
> papers, our vegetation position and assist generally. DNR supplies all
> accommodation and travel costs for 6 meetings over 2 years of 1-2 days
> each.
> I am  finding the papers you are circulating most interesting though
> haven't had a chance to say anything myself yet!
> But keep up the networking work!
> Cheers
> Jan Oliver
> So if you or someone you know may be interested, contact Jan at
> *******************************************************************
> Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland -
> 1/95 William Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4000, Australia
> Phone: 07 3221 0194        Fax: 07 3221 0701
> *******************************************************************
> This is from David Coonan (ACT)
> .
> Leon,
> Thank you for providing this forum and the information flowing from the
> group.  My parents still depend upon their ACT rural lease for their income.
> In the ACT we have faced some of these issues and also some more.  I had
> hoped to provide further information on our legal activities by now but some
> of the processes are just so time consuming.
> However, I noted some discussions on the concept of 'Just Terms'.  It is
> interesting to note that until 1997 that concept appeared to be limited to
> the Commonwealth acting in its own right to acquire property, however, the
> High Court has confirmed the application of Just Terms to internal
> Territories - ACT & NT Government acquisitions.
> On another point, we have had Community Conservation Groups acknowledge the
> need to apply the concepts of Just Terms and publicly state that property
> owners should not have to bear the burden of public good conservation.
> However, the Government Officials continue to try to obfuscate their
> obligations.  A land withdrawal  has been successfully stayed (for the time
> being) by our group on this issue of an obligation to pay and that the
> community has the right to know the future cost burden of the proposed
> acquisition.  It has not been easy nor is it over, just a minor win for us,
> for a change.
> I have found other information most useful and interesting.  Well done.
> Regards
> David Coonan
>
> Also from David Hodgkinson (NSW)
>
> Keep up the good work!  As a former Chairman of NSW Farmers Conservation and
> Resource management Committee I sympathise with the problems everyone is
> having.
>
> I negotiated with the NSW Government for 18 months in 95-96 over SEPP46 and
> reached an agreed outcome only to see it all overturned in the legislation.
>
> State Governments wonder why people have such a low opinion of their probity.
> One has only to look at the examples you have provided to see some of the
> reasons.
>
> Local Government seems to be getting tarred with the same brush.  Attempt a
> development on your own land and every expensive impediment possible will be
> put in the way.
>
> But if the Council wants to do anything they will ride roughshod over any
> landholder who stands in the way.  We have a case in point at the moment
> where Yass Council's Senior Public officer told me he did not need a licence
> to bore for water on our land.  This advice was contrary to advice we
> received from the government department responsible.
>
> The time wasted by landholders on these matters is considerable
>
> Keep up the good work
>
> Regards
> David Hodgkinson
>-------------------------------------------------
> This information comes from Ian Mott
>
> The Regrowth Forest Grower
> special joint edition from AFG Qld & the Regrowth Foresters Assoc.
>
> Test case confirms right to harvest native forest but hits plantations for
> six!
> Pity about the rest of agriculture, horticulture, mining, infrastructure,
> departmental works and small business.
>     A recent ruling in the Qld Planning & Environment Court provides a timely
> reminder that attempts to undermine the rights of individuals leads,
> inevitably, to the erosion of the rights of all the community.
>     No surprise to many, responsibility for this debacle rest on a local
> council, with a wallet full of developers money, boosting its environmental
> credentials by persecuting a forest owning farmer. Maroochy Shire Council v
> Barns (2/05/01) has extraordinary implications for all land management if it
> is allowed to stand.
>     For the owners of managed native forests, the ruling confirms that an
> existing lawful forestry purpose prevails over new planning schemes provided
> the use does not undergo material change in scale or intensity. And given
> that many such forests have had quite significant interventions in the past,
> the native forest sector could be excused for walking away from the case's
> other implications.
>     But that would be to ignore the fact that native forestry is usually
> carried out within an integrated agricultural use that will be seriously
> impaired.
>     The ruling ignores the operation of the Schedule 8 Exemptions under the
> Qld Integrated Planning Act which operates to ensure that normal and
> necessary activities of existing operations are not impeded. For example,
> under the ruling, the following activities appear to be a material change in
> use that requires development consent.
>     a.. the first harvest of an existing orchard crop
>     b.. the first thinning of a plantation and a clear fall final harvest if
> the stand had only been thinned in the past
>     c.. a change from one horticultural crop to another unless it is part of
> an existing rotational system.
>     d.. the clearing of regrowth in a paddock that has not previously been
> cleared
>     e.. the thinning of non-remnant regrowth forest to speed up its
> conversion to remnant forest
>     f.. a new fence line
>     g.. ploughing of a field for the first time (or without evidence of prior
> ploughing)
>     h.. operational repair works on a railway beyond routine maintenance
>     i.. operational works by a government department that involve changes in
> scale and intensity
>     j.. operational works under the Mining Act or the Petroleum Act
>     k.. operational works under individual company agreement acts like Alcan,
> Mount Isa Mines, Qld Lime & Cement etc
>     l.. any non-seasonal improvement in a small business' activities on
> premises
>     m.. any options being contemplated by punch drunk Dairy Farmers seeking
> escape from the consequences of deregulation.
> Indeed, we understand that 3 plantation projects on ex-dairy farms were
> awaiting the ruling before final commitment but have now been cancelled due
> to the total absence of investment certainty.
>
> Mr Barns has had advice that there are grounds for appeal and his supporters
> are seeking indications of financial support from those most affected by the
> decision.
>
> For a more detailed report on the ruling and its implications Contact
> Ian Mott,
> SQ President & National Councillor,
> Australian Forest Growers
> Ph (07) 3893 0612
> talbank@bigpond.com.au
>
> We are wondering if the NFF is aware of this case and it`s implications. The
> "Fighting Fund" was set up to fund "test cases and the like".  Mr Burn`s
> appeal seems to be in that category.
> Can anyone from NFF comment on this issue?
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Finally we have the beginnings of an idea which could put landholders on the
> offensive rather than just copping continual regulation and changing
> interpretations.
> This comes from the Fiveways Landcare group Nyngan, NSW
>
> PROPOSAL FOR INTRODUCTION OF
> A âœLIMBO LEASEâ* IN THE
> NORTH LACHLAN-BOGAN REGION
>
> Following the designation of the North Lachlan-Bogan Native Vegetation Region
> by the Minister for Land and Water Conservation on 17 September 1998, and the
> commencement of developing a management plan for this region, there has been
> a difference in interpretation of the Native Vegetation Conservation Act,
> 1997 by the Department of Land and Water Conservation.
>
> Up until this time, many development and management applications were being
> approved and reasonable conditions were being placed on this development.
> Following the formation of this committee, there has been a definite change
> in the application of the Act resulting in most development approvals being
> granted over a significantly lesser area than the original application, or
> refused entirely.  There were no amendments to the Act, only a difference in
> interpretation by departmental staff.
>
> Due to these actions by Department of Land and Water Conservation staff,
> many landowners have been significantly impacted on by this.  Landowners have
> undertaken a progressive development program over many years, as seasons and
> finances allow.  All landowners purchased their properties prior to the
> introduction of SEPP 46 on the understanding that they would be able to
> develop these to achieve sustainable and viable agricultural enterprises.
> Financial institutions also lent money on this understanding.
>
> The current situation for these landowners is that there has been a complete
> change in attitude by departmental staff and they are now told that â˜to clear
> an acre you must plant an acreâ™.  This attitude does not take into account
> the regional vegetation problems that exist from invasive regrowth on areas
> of previously open grassland that was naturally occurring, severe soil
> erosion in heavily vegetated areas, and the low percentage of development
> that has occurred over this region.
>
> >From the outcomes of the most recent meeting of the North Lachlan-Bogan
> Regional Vegetation Management Committee held on April 30 and May 1 in
> Nyngan, a management plan to cover this region will not be available for two
> years, minimum.  A significant period of time has already passed - landowners
> cannot sustain this period of â˜limboâ™ any longer.
>
> It is the opinion of all landowners situated in the area covered by the North
> Lachlan-Bogan region that they are being unfairly impacted on by an inability
> to develop and manage their land - irrespective of tenure.
>
> We have been informed through all media sources, all government agencies and
> by all conservation groups that â˜development must stop - there has been too
> much development in the state/country and the urban community demands that
> there be no moreâ™.
>
> Members of the urban community that demand the current level of vegetation
> that exists be kept in its entirety must now pay for this demand.  It is only
> from outside our region that this perception is held - landowners that are
> directly impacted on by the effects of this vegetation cannot afford to pay
> any more.
>
> It is our belief that the most equitable manner in which the community can
> achieve its goals, the landowners retain a viable business, and our rural
> communities survive in such harsh economic times, is through the taking up of
> our lease proposal.
>
> Under the terms of the â˜Limbo Leaseâ™ landowners that have a significant
> level of vegetation on their properties that they are unable to develop due
> to the restrictions placed on them by either the Native Vegetation
> Conservation Act, 1997 or by the Department of Land and Water Conservation
> will be able to enter into a lease agreement for these trees and vegetation.
>
> The lease will be calculated on the following basis:-
>
> The total area of the property                  **********
> Area developed at time of implementation                 ********
> Area undeveloped                                *****
>
> (Landowners have offered to contribute 15% of their property area as their
> commitment towards conservation in the regional plan.  This is a very
> significant offer that has been made - and has been allowed for within the
> terms of this lease.)
>
> Area undeveloped                                 *********
> Less 15% of total area of property                     *****
> Area of vegetation identified for lease                      ****
>
> A land value will be calculated using the market value for the imp