Debate on the Palaszczuk government’s controversial new vegetation management laws have been delayed until about 9.30pm tonight. Image digitally altered.THE minority Palaszczuk government has delayed the debate on its controversialnew vegetation management laws until at least 9.30pm tonight.

MPs were told on Mondayto expect the VegetationManagement (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016to be introduced immediately after the dinner break. However, parliament today accepted a disallowance motion relating to exhibited animals that will be considered from7.30pm. That issue is expected totake about two hours,meaning the vegetation debate could now start at about 9.30pm.

If parliament decides to complete a counter terrorism bill, the vegetation bill may not kick offuntil 10-10.30pm.

The debate will be streamed live on Queensland parliament’s website (click here).

The scene is nowset for what is shaping up asone of the fiercest battle ever to be seen inQueensland’s parliament. ThePalaszczuk government has adopted acrash or crash through on its anti-farmer laws, which will strenuously opposed by the LNP opposition and the two Katter members.

While the debate is expected to rage well into the early hours,a vote is not expected until sometime tomorrow (Thursday).

Palaszczuk has locked in behind theLabor-alignedextreme green movement and in concert, launcheda series of brutal attacks on Queensland farmers in the lead up to the debate.

If passed, the anti-agriculturelegislation will be retrospective to March 17.

TheDepartment of Natural Resourcespre-empted the decision on Tuesday, releasing new online maps (click here) of so-called high-value regrowth that would be protected under the new laws.

However, the fate of the bill appears to restwith Labor turned independentmember for Cook, Billy Gordon, who is under pressure from indigenous groups who will lose massive economic development opportunities ifpassed.If Mr Gordon does support Labor, the decision will come down to the casting vote of independent speaker Peter Wellington.

There appears little doubt thatQueensland other Laborturnedindependentmember Rob Pyne (Cairns) will side with the government.

The wild card appears to be if Labor would accept any last minute amendments put forward by either Mr Gordon or Mr Wellington, enabling the laws to be passed.

The bill is seen as a major test for the mid-term Palaszczuk government, whichisdesperate to appease Labor-aligned extreme green including the Wilderness Society and the WWF.

The ongoing support of green groups is seen as vital for Labor’sinner city seats including South Brisbane, held by deputy premier Jackie Trad, and Mount Coot-tha, held by environment minister Steven Miles, who rely on green preferences at the ballot box.

Farm groups,the LNP opposition and two Katter members maintain the billshould be rejected.Major sticking points include there-introduction of‘reverse onus of proof laws’ meaning farmersguilty until proven innocent, ‘mistake of fact’ as adefense for landholders, and the reintroduction ofso-called ‘high-value regrowth’.

Opposition natural resources spokesman Andrew Cripps said Labor’s decision not to withdraw the ‘reversal of the onus of proof’ provisions from its proposed vegetation management laws was arrogant and conceited.

Mr Cripps said other unfair provisions, including the withdrawal of ‘mistake of fact’ as an available defence and its retrospectivity to March 17 would also remain in Labor’s bill, denying people basic civil liberties.

He said under the Palaszczuk Government’s laws, Queensland’s agriculture sector would have to rely on revised self-assessable codes, the Coordinator-General and other obscure legislation to manage vegetation.

“We know Labor has already moved to reduce the flexibility of self-assessable codes for routine management activities, which will drive up the costs and reduce the productivity of Queensland’s agriculture sector,” Mr Cripps said.

“The only pathway for expanding high value agriculture in Queensland will be through the expensive and time-consuming coordinator general’s process, favouring large corporate agriculture at the expense of small family farming businesses.

“Indigenous communities on Cape York have been told to rely on theCape York Peninsula Heritage Actto deliver future economic opportunities, despite it rarely being used because of its narrow and inflexible provisions.”

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