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Author Topic: Ministerial Statement: REVIEW LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF QUEENSLAND'S STOCK ROUTE  (Read 1998 times)

Online ozbob

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Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland
The Honourable Craig Wallace


Natural Resources and Water Minister Craig Wallace today released a landmark review aimed at improving the management of the "long paddock" - Queensland's 72,000km stock route network.

The report's recommendations include a user-pays model to properly fund local governments which manage stock routes.

The Improving the management and use of the stock route network report also recommends that the stock route network be divided into active and inactive routes, with differing levels of management.

The Queensland Government is now asking for public comment before it decides which recommendations it will and will not adopt.

"We are planning to ensure the long-term future of our iconic stock route network, which covers 2.6 million hectares," Mr Wallace said.

"Although they have been around for more than 100 years, droving stock is still alive and well on Queensland's stock routes," he said.

"Drought and rising fuel prices mean we will see more use, not less, made of parts of the huge stock route network."

Mr Wallace said in May that the Bligh Government will not sell off or lease the state's stock route network - in part or in whole.

The review was done by the Stock Route Assessment Panel, made up of groups which manage and use stock routes - the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Droving and Stock Routes Association, AgForce Queensland and the Land Protection Council.

Recommendations made by the panel include:

?The entire stock route network should be retained;

?A user-pays system be introduced to ensure equity among all users and to ensure local governments are sufficiently funded to manage stock routes as the current cost of maintaining the network substantially exceeds what councils receive in fees;

?The onus for payment will be on stock route users, so ratepayers whose councils manage stock routes are not expected to pay for stock route users;

?The panel also proposes classifying routes into active and non-active areas through an annual consultation, with a list of criteria to determine how areas are classified;

?Active routes will be closely managed to ensure they have adequate feed and water for travelling stock;

?Inactive routes that receive less travelling stock will be managed to reduce costs for local government by providing landholders with opportunities for managed static grazing through Annual Grazing Agreements;

?Both active and inactive routes should be managed to ensure land condition and biodiversity values are protected and enhanced.

Mr Wallace said severe drought conditions in 2002 and 2003 had led to the highest usage of Queensland stock routes since the 1950s and 60s.

Rising fuel prices have also resulted in increased use of the network, since droving is currently less than 80 per cent the cost of trucking stock.

Mr Wallace also said the biodiversity and environmental values of stock routes was a significant factor driving the need to protect and ensure their sustainability.

"The connectivity of stock routes provides corridors for native wildlife to relocate and adapt in response to climate change," he said.

The public is invited to comment on these proposals by 31 August.
A report of the summary of the proposals can be accessed at www.nrw.qld.gov.au/land/stockroutes. Comments on the review can be made to stockroutereview@nrw.qld.gov.au by 31 August.

A map showing the extent of the Queensland stock route network is available on request.

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