More than 300 people filled the grounds of Freestone Hall in August 2017 to voice their concerns about a new council-enforced invasive pest scheme.
More than 300 people filled the grounds of Freestone Hall in August 2017 to voice their concerns about a new council-enforced invasive pest scheme. Samantha Wantling

State Parliament to action petition against council scheme

HUNDREDS of landowners have gone to new levels to try and overhaul a controversial strategy for promoting the control of invasive pests in the Southern Downs.

Opposition towards the Southern Downs Regional Council's Invasive Pest Control Scheme has escalated to state government levels after an electronic petition was registered with the Queensland Parliament yesterday.

The petition, which calls for an overhaul of the IPCS, has gained 178 signatures in the past 24 hours.

"Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House the unfairness of and the flaws in the Southern Downs Regional Council's Invasive Pest Management Scheme," it states.

"We the petitioners believe that the current scheme, which is penalties-based through fines called "Supplementary Rates Notices" should be replaced by an incentive-based scheme which rewards landowners for pest eradication efforts on private and crown land."

 

A Southern Downs Regional Council officer injects a pear tree with glyphosate.
A Southern Downs Regional Council officer injects a pear tree with glyphosate. Contributed

A similar petition displaying more than 450 signatures from Southern Downs residents was tabled in the July council meeting last Wednesday.

But residents who oppose the scheme felt their message was not getting through to councillors and have taken the matter to the state parliament.

"I don't think they are listening and I don't believe we should be punished," principal petitioner Robert Hudson said.

The petition states: "We believe that it is unfair to penalise landowners for their failure to control pests on their properties when nearby crown land controlled by the Southern Downs Regional Council and the Queensland Government is infested with pests.

Boxthorn field day.
Boxthorn field day. Photo Contributed

"We further believe that drought-affected landowners who choose to retain tree pear and other edible species for cattle fodder should be allowed to do so."

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the council had considered an incentive-based scheme but would not be prepared to impose a rate-rise on Southern Downs citizens to implement such a strategy.

"I'll go back to the fact that managing invasive pests on your land is an obligation imposed by the Biodiversity Act in Queensland - the requirement is already there," she said.

"It's the state government's responsibility to receive and action that petition now."



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