Cartoon: By Leahy.
The Bligh government has responded to concerns of farmers about the intrusion of mining into prime agricultural land. They have just released a Draft State Planning Policy for Strategic Cropping Land, which is open for consultation. Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham has warned the community to take a good hard look at it.
In the fine print it becomes clear that miners are not the only industry being kept under tight control there. It limits what farmers themselves can do on their own property:
“We applaud the intent of this new policy to protect our best agricultural land from heavy industry like mining,” Cr Bellingham said. “However, when you look at the fine print, it has major implications for what producers themselves can do with their land and for Council’s planning schemes.” “It effectively removes local decision making for anything other than basic farming activities.”The Greens have ‘allied’ themselves with farmers in relation to this matter, so there are few prizes for guessing that they have had some input into this draught. The government has done the usual thing, in presenting a ‘solution’ to the concerns of the rural community while indulging in a power grab.
“It effectively removes local decision making for anything other than basic farming activities.” The proposed policy applies to farming land only, not towns and urban areas, and restricts new buildings and developments, except in exempt categories. …
For example, you could build a winery, which is exempt, but if you wanted to have a restaurant or craft outlet associated with that winery it would not be allowed. You also can’t add a few cabins to an existing farm to supplement income, for instance. While animal keeping is allowed, this essentially only applies where no new buildings need to be built. So feedlots and free range pig or chook farms would be OK; poultry sheds and piggeries would not.
The policy could also have major impacts in the Granite Belt, with new sheds associated with a rural industry allowed, but only if they are less than 750m2 in floor space, the Mayor said. “That’s a very small shed in the orchard or horticulture industry,” Cr Bellingham said. “A number of producers have packing sheds over 4,000 square meters in size. ...
In the process they are ingratiating themselves to their Green allies in imposing the rather dour outlook of Bob Brown onto the future of farming in the area.