AgForce has secured a commitment by the Minister for the Environment and Science to more fully engage with producers on the protected flora trigger mapping, which created such havoc for the industry this week.
The contentious trigger maps – which caused enormous anxiety for producers when a ‘surprise’ upgrade was released last week – were replaced with a more realistic version this morning following a sustained campaign led by AgForce and its members.
The new version reduces the ‘protected’ area by 36 per cent and appears to have resolved many of the issues producers identified with the earlier ‘upgrade’.
At a meeting called by AgForce, Minister Enoch promised that her Department would engage more closely in developing and implementing these maps in future.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin welcomed the commitment as “strong progress”, but said there was a lot more work to do.
“The Minister instructed the Department of Environment and Science (DES) and the Queensland Herbarium to hold a workshop with our Landscape Management Committee and key staff as soon as possible,” Mr Guerin said.
“She also asked DES to produce a simple fact sheet that explains the changes and implications for producers, and to make it easy for farmers to talk to someone for further information or explanation.
“Minister Enoch promised that DES would fully brief AgForce prior to any future mapping releases and give us a chance to digest the information and inform our members in good time.”
Mr Guerin said AgForce’s next step was to organise and prepare for the workshop so as to be able to strongly represent industry and get trigger mapping “back onto a reasonable footing”.
“We are relieved that the Government has heeded community concerns and shown the courage and common sense to review the map, as the consequences would have been disastrous for our industry,” he said.
“I am amazed they didn’t conduct a thorough review BEFORE they released the maps to ensure their accuracy, because it has caused a great deal of anxiety and resentment among AgForce members.
“It truly goes to show the folly of not talking with producers when developing this type of program – all they have to do is pick up the phone!”