Rally protests land clearing in Queensland

Issue 

At least 170 people protested against land clearing outside the Queensland parliament on August 17 ahead of a bill which would have required landholders to prove they had not illegally bulldozed their land.

The Palaszczuk government's bill was aimed at restoring stronger tree clearing laws and would have reversed the legislation brought in by the conservative Cambell Newman government. That change resulted in almost 300,000 hectares of native woodland being cleared each year.

On August 18, after a debate spanning two nights, the bill was voted down 44 to 42.

An open letter by scientists highlighting the "overwhelming scientific consensus" that action needs to be taken on land clearing was highlighted at the rally.

Speakers included Tim Seelig (Conservation Council), Martin Taylor (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Jackie Trad (deputy premier).

Three key reasons to support the legislation reaffirmed by speakers included: the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef; the need to reduce carbon emissions; and the need to protect habitat for koalas and other wildlife.

The vote on the legislation is expected to be close and a lot of commentary at the rally focused on the votes of key independents in the parliament.

Rob Pyne, the independent member for Cairns, attended the rally to show support. He told Green Left that he would support the legislation because the "unsustainable pace of land clearing just has to stop.

"Action on climate change must be now for the sake of future generations," he said.

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