Proposal: Councils, not state, to issue grazing permits

COUNCILS will take the reins on stock routes under the new laws handing them financial control of grazier fees.

Local governments around Queensland already manage stock routes in their regions but the funds graziers pay to use them go to the State Government.

While the money only equates to less than half a million dollars statewide now, it is expected the move would give councils more incentive to be proactive about pursuing fees for permits.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham will announce proposed changes to Queensland's state land administration laws when he speaks at AgForce's state conference in Toowoomba today (Thursday).

"Councils currently authorise livestock movement on our 2.6 million hectares and 72,000 km of stock routes by issuing travel permits and short-term grazing permits," he said.

"Stock routes will remain primarily a vital source of pasture for travelling stock, emergency agistment and short-term grazing, but there's so much more councils will be able to do.

"Under proposed changes, graziers will pay councils for their grazing permits, not the State Government as they do now.

"Councils will then be able to use those funds to manage stock routes and invest in improved pest and weed control, protect the environment and reduce fire risks.

"As well, it will be the actual users of the routes who will be paying for their maintenance and management now, rather than all of the ratepayers in the council's area."

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Under planned changes, councils no longer will be required to have a stock route management plan.

Legislation is expected to be introduced to parliament early next year as the first tranche of a future suite of land administration changes.

Dr Lynham said his government would continue to work with all stakeholders including drovers, graziers, indigenous groups, conservation groups, AgForce and councils to modernise the state's 20th century land administration framework.

"Local councils play a key role in administering and managing state land, including Queensland's vast road and stock route network and reserves for community purposes," he said.

For more information on state land reform visit http://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au and search for land initiatives.

- APN NEWSDESK



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