Vegetation laws useless without enforcement

Jo Bragg, Greens' candidate for South Brisbane, was responding to Minister Cripps' announcement yesterday of a review of enforcement of the Vegetation Management Act.
Minister Cripps, in deciding a review, said that the previous government was overly aggressive in enforcing compliance and prosecution of the VMA. He said he wanted to work cooperatively with land holders and industry.
Ms Bragg, an experienced environmental lawyer, said: 'Only about 5% of cases, the most serious and intentional cases of clearing, result in prosecutions.  If it's minor, the landholder is just cautioned rather than prosecuted. But a well-publicised prosecution for seriously breaching vegetation clearing rules is a powerful and necessary tool for achieving broader community compliance with the law.
"Farmers do need help and support to retain vegetation. Some landholders can get payment for retaining trees under the Federal Carbon farming initiative spearheaded by the Greens.
"Rather than easing up on enforcement of the VMA, along with initiatives to assist landholders, we need to see more restrictions on clearing by mining and gas companies.
"And don't forget protection of vegetation is important to contol erosion, to control salinity, to protect watercourses, and to store carbon - all matters of major public interest.'
For further information contact Jo Bragg 0428 104 477