Labor climate plan ‘creates major fire threat’

LABOR'S plan to roll out nation-wide bans on wide-scale land clearing lead to more intense bushfires and see agricultural property values fall, farmers claim.

In a new broadside against Labor's climate change policy, farming groups are preparing to campaign against the plans based on Queensland's vegetation management laws.

AgForce Queensland, which is a fierce opponent of the Queensland laws, warned the plans would pose a wildfire risk because farmers could knock down large tracts of vegetation.

Eungella Range charred from bushfires.
Eungella Range charred from bushfires. Marty Strecker Photography

AgForce chief Michael Guerin said bushfires in central Queensland late last year were worsened because of a lack of vegetation thinning.

"Thickening had been occurring there and landholders did not have the confidence to thin it out. They didn't have the legal ability to do it," he said.

"We then have the perverse outcome where we have wildfires that kill more than ever anticipated.

"We'll be fraught with the risk of very large wildfires in the future."

The Queensland farming group also argues farm values will decrease over time and the capacity to earn money from agricultural property will decline.

Farmers say a ban tree clearing will hit their viability.
Farmers say a ban tree clearing will hit their viability.

"Landholders have to have the freedom to manage their vegetation," Mr Guerin said.

A Labor spokesman dismissed farmers' concerns as "absurd and baseless".

"Nothing proposed by Labor will impact on a farmer's ability to construct a fire break or a landholder's ability to clear the vegetation to do that," the spokesman said.

"Broad-scale land clearing creates pollution and removes vegetation that absorbs pollution."

Land clearing more than doubled in Queensland after the former Newman government wound back limits in 2013.

Queensland introduced tougher tree clearing laws last year.

Other groups including the "Green Shirts", who organised rowdy demonstrations against the Palaszczuk government's laws, are vowing to spearhead national protests against Mr Shorten's plan.