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Queensland parliament passes controversial land clearing laws

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The Queensland government has passed changes to land clearing laws in order to combat the Cattle Crisis.

The new laws will enable farmers to graze starving cattle in five national parks and eight reserves until the end of 2013 and will allow farmers to clear their land without permits for routine management requirements according to SMH.

Conservationists and scientists from the Queensland regions have warned against the changes stating that clearing of reserves and national parks would have a hugely negative effect on biodiversity and lead to extinctions of native flora and fauna.

Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF Australia said that the decision will strip away two million hectares of mature and recovering bushland. He believes that the Premier Campbell Newman has broken an election promise to retain the current level of statutory vegetation protection.

Andrew Cripps, Natural Resources Minister said the report will give landholders more control and will provide sustainable growth while refuting claims that the government has relaxed environmental standards.

‘‘Landholders can get on with the job of providing food and fibre for Queenslanders and international markets,’’ he said in a statement.

‘‘Despite alarmist comments from extreme green groups, the reef watercourse protections in north Queensland will remain in place.’’ 

‘‘The state government will still monitor land clearing practices, and those that break the law will still be subject to tough penalties.’’

Image credit: seymours images

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