State's mapping mistake expected to cost landholders dearly
BUNGLED mapping is causing a headache for rural landholders, who may have to pay thousands to fix the Department of Environment's mistakes.
The department released new versions of trigger maps, which had dramatically increased the area thought, but not proven, to support protected plants and animals.
AgForce is not impressed by the decision, or the lack of explanation behind the change.
"There appears to be no available scientific, ecological or cartographic rationale for how these new maps, which in some cases have increased the protected areas on properties from almost nothing to nearly everything, have been developed,” AgForce CEO Mr Guerin said.
"As soon as we found out the new maps had been released, we sought meetings with DES and the Queensland Herbarium to understand the methodology behind the massive change and the impact that would have on producers.
"DES staff couldn't explain the considerable discrepancies in how protected plant areas are mapped, such as why, for example, neighbours with identical agricultural land use have been mapped differently.
"They also had no answers for the extensive errors throughout the maps, such as including dams, mines, quarries and even sporting stadiums as protected plant habitat.”
Now, to go about their land management practices, landholders will have to pay thousands to government surveyors.
"Producers are prevented from clearing or thinning on areas which may be home to protected species,” Mr Guerin said.
"It is up to each producer to commission a formal ecological survey of their property, an operation that costs a minimum of $5000 and anywhere up to $30,000 to determine the accuracy of the Government's map.
"In other words, the government isn't sure whether anything worth protecting exists in those locations... yet fines for breaching the regulations are anywhere up to $40,000.”