Govt suffers land clearing defeat

THE Queensland Government had a major legislative defeat last night with crossbenchers voting against promised tree clearing laws.

Before the vote on Thursday night, independent MP Billy Gordon announced he would not be supporting the bill.

Mr Gordon said the bill had not "achieved the balance" between protecting farmers and the environment.

"After months of consultation with a variety of people, groups and organisations around my electorate, and those adjacent areas to the Cook electorate, I am of the firm view that the proposed vegetation management reforms don't strike the necessary balance between indigenous economic development, protecting the environment and supporting our farmers," he said.

Without Mr Gordon's support the government did not have the numbers to pass the restrictions on land clearing. The LNP and Katter's Australian Party voted against the bill.

KAP MP Robbie Katter said he had been speaking to Mr Gordon "every day" in the lead-up to the vote.

"We're talking two hours before he made his announcement," he said.

Mr Katter said the KAP existed to stop bills like this.

"Shane Knuth and I were 1000% determined to stop this. This fulfils our potential as a party," he said.

But Mr Gordon said he did not support "broad-scale tree clearing" but he did not believe the proposed bill was the solution.

"I continue to commit to working with the government and encourage them to continue to work with all stakeholders to find the balance, which I know is out there and attainable," he said.

The legislative loss is the first the government has suffered on a bill it introduced. - ARM NEWSDESK

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