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The rural community in Queensland Australia : political systems and the politicisation of environmental law
chapterposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Josephine Kehoe
This paper explores the complex relationship between the Queensland government and the agricultural community, with particular emphasis on the political context and systems within which environmental laws are made and shaped. What has happened on the land and, more recently environmental law and policy, has been dominated and fashioned by the political cycles, political systems and ideologies of successive governments. In the past the rural community in Queensland had an influential role within the state. More recently this has lessened to the status of a marginalised group struggling to find a voice and a genuine participatory place in policy decision making affecting rural land. Consideration is given to a particularly controversial environmental law: the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld). The Act has been contentious from its introduction in 1999. The controversy continued with the 2004 amendments, which heralded the phasing out of broadscale land clearing, and surfaced again with the most recent retrospective amendments in 2009. The reluctance of some sectors of the agricultural community to engage with the government is explicable in the light of Queensland’s history and the underlying politicisation of the VMA.