The approaching release of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework Annual report has sparked quite a debate.
Although the idea had merit and some very competent people included, the execution has been anything but supportive of Northern beef production. One framework supporter is "disappointed" that some fellow producers are quick to criticise the important work the framework does.
Count me among those.
I talk constantly to distressed producers who once had open grassy plain or open forest which has now become encroached upon by forest or thickened to such and extent that it supports almost no grass and is prone to erosion. Clearing or thinning to restore these areas is now next to impossible under Queensland legislation. Regrowth control is highly regulated.
Now customers such as McDonalds want to eliminate "deforestation" from their supply chains.
I am disappointed that the last report quoted, unrebutted, a completely rebuttable quote from a report by an agenda-biased green group, that Queensland was one of the deforestation hot-spots in the world. Satellite imagery clearly shows that there is more regrowth than clearing over the whole continent.
Including such a biased, dishonest and inflammatory quote in the framework's annual report is a breach of trust and an inappropriate use of our levies. Sometimes it would serve our statutory bodies well to remember where their money comes from.
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I am disappointed that the framework has partnered with a commercial satellite provider, no doubt at great expense to levy payers, to allow mapping of properties down to ten hectares. Predictably this has had a positive spin put on it as enabling close management and "proving" that you are not deforesting. Less positive is that it can also be used against you as a deforester even if you are clearing or thinning legally under your state legislation which is very prescriptive. Such legislation is prohibitive to a degree that can easily be described as a violation of a landowner's human rights.
I have been assured that the privacy provisions allow only the producer to access such satellite mapping. We have all, from time to time signed a waiver for a bank to allow them to access otherwise private records. It is only a matter of time before we sign such a waiver to sell our cattle for an order from an anti-deforesting, virtue-signalling company.
I am disappointed that last year's annual report references vegetation records going back to 1988 and we were supposed to feel satisfied that that was going to settle all disputes "once and for all" about what country was like historically.
This claim is disingenuous in the extreme as the vegetation is nothing like what it was at first settlement. In fact it has greatly thickened. Environmentalists always resist anecdotal or photographic evidence, accounts from explorer's journals and government reports from early time frames but we have no need to accept their rejection and neither should any of our statutory bodies. Such records and accounts were the only way that history was recorded for millennia until the advent of electronic recording of everything.
I am disappointed that the very same environmental groups that have undue influence over Queensland environmental law, who demonise us and defame us and give no credit for positive environmental outcomes because they are agenda driven, are the same groups who have been invited to the negotiating table by our industry to exert even more influence over our undefended and exposed industry, while adding to their own acceptance, credibility and funding streams.
Some of our representative and statutory bodies need to reflect on the fact that they are there to protect us from unwarranted defamation, not to participate in it. Look to the history of other targeted industries to see if communication with toxic green groups has saved them. Forestry is almost finished, particularly in Victoria. The commercial fishing industry is similarly decimated.
All of this destruction has been achieved by the clever dissemination of believable lies.
- Joanne Rea is the Chair of Property Rights Australia
The story Beef Sustainability Framework 'disappoints' says PRA first appeared on Farm Online.