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Native vegetation: public conservation on private land: cost of forgone rangelands development in southern and western Queensland

1 Jan 2006

The Productivity Commission inquiry in 2004 into native vegetation and biodiversity concluded that the current regulatory approaches to native vegetation management were having a negative impact on some private landholders by imposing significant costs, preventing property development, preventing land use change to more profitable activities, preventing the introduction of cost saving innovations and restricting the clearing of regrowth vegetation and woodland thickening that results in reduced livestock production. Their report also highlighted the need to develop native vegetation policies that provide landholders with positive incentives to retain and manage native vegetation and to deliver specified environmental outcomes in flexible, innovative and cost effective ways. The aim in this report is to quantify many of these impacts, including the cost of forgone rangelands development, that have arisen as a consequence of the mandatory conservation of native vegetation on broadacre farms in southern and western Queensland. Regulations intended to conserve native vegetation were identified by farmers as by far the most important constraint to development. Of the potential development areas identified in the survey, most were earmarked for improving livestock carrying capacity. The balance involved projects aimed at changing land use from grazing to cropping. Up to 7.5 million hectares, or 14 per cent of the survey region, were identified by farmers as likely to be affected by existing native vegetation regulations

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