1st quarter January 2023 industry news update
Welcome to our January 2023 news update on concerns over clearing land activities in Australia. Land clearing and forestry mulching are important topics that can have a significant impact on the environment, as well as on local communities and economies. East Coast Mulching will report on local issues. We are aiming to do this every quarter on a regular basis. By doing this, we believe we can help raise awareness and promote informed discussions and decision-making. Our approach is to use reliable and credible sources for our research. Take an unbiased stand in our reporting. We hope you enjoy it!
Concerns over clearing land activities in Northern Territory
The Commonwealth Government is investigating Northern Territory, cotton growers. Concerns over clearing land without permits have been discovered. ABC’s 7.30 Report brought the issue to light. Satellite images showed cotton growers clearing the territory’s tropical savanna.
North Australian tropical savannas
The north Australian tropical savannas form a vast bioregion. The savanna covers over 150 million hectares, stretching from Townsville to Broome. The area has six ecoregions with various biomes. These biomes include rolling grasslands, rugged ranges, wetlands and tropical rainforests.
The region is an essential source of biodiversity. The area attracts significant interest from environmental groups.
Northern Territory Cotton Industry
Cotton growing is a burgeoning industry in the Northern Territory. The Territory lifted a ban on cotton in 2018. Cattle farming was used to fuel the Territory’s economy. Now the lucrative new crop stands to deliver significant benefits. The NT Farmers Association CEO, Paul Burke, weighed in on the potential benefits. Mr Burke believes the cotton industry could be a $200 million economy within a decade. This development will increase investment in public infrastructure like roads and ports.
The increasing popularity of fast fashion has skyrocketed the cost of cotton. Stations larger than cities are undergoing redevelopment to grow cotton.
Last year, the Northern Territory government reduced permit approval times. Permits used to take six months and now take six weeks. This change is part of a plan to help the Territory’s economy reach $40 billion by 2030.
Clearing activity created concerns that stations don’t wait for regulatory approval. Two stations are under investigation. The Government suspects Claravale Farm and Tarwoo Station are clearing without a permit.
Mr Burke insists the NT Farmers Association is an advocate for environmental regulations. But, he believes these investigations are barriers when there likely isn’t a case to answer.
Land clearing regulations
The constitution does not give the Federal Government explicit authority over environmental matters. This oversight means States and Territories regulate land use and other environment-related issues. As a result, legislative approaches to sustainability are not cohesive across jurisdictions.
Inconsistent laws prevent a coherent national framework for environmental protection. This assessment comes from Charles Darwin University Constitutional Law Expert Dr Guzyal Hill.
Biodiversity conservation strategy
Kirsty Howey is the Executive Director at the Northern Territory Environment Centre. She says the Northern Territory has no native vegetation laws. The Government still needs to put a biodiversity conservation strategy in place too.
Queensland has a detailed conservation strategy for the State’s biodiversity goals. The strategy centres around four main objectives:
Goal one: Protect
The Government balances conservation with sensible development to forward the economy. Protecting areas with different ecosystems is critical to flora and fauna species. Laws, including the Vegetation Management Act 1999, regulate land clearing. The legislation ensures any clearing activity respects conservation goals.
Goal two: Restore and recover
Queensland has hundreds of threatened species and affected regional ecosystems. The Queensland Government wants to promote development and liveability while preserving ecosystems.
Goal three: Adapt
Flora and fauna may adapt to developed areas. Biodiversity can continue in modified regions like agricultural and urban zones. The Government implemented the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Climate Adaptation Plan. The plan helps protect ecosystems against climate change and other factors.
Goal 4: Connect
Research shows a harmonious connection to the environment benefits our health and well-being. The Government supports ecological awareness-raising and education. Education helps communities appreciate biodiversity and assist in maintaining vulnerable ecosystems.
Sustainability in land clearing
At East Coast Mulching, we focus on sustainability when clearing land. We understand clearing practices must respect sustainability goals and conservation efforts. Don’t make the same mistake by creating concerns over clearing land with your next project.
We also recognise that land development is essential to our social prosperity. But economic growth mustn’t cost us our precious natural assets. The future of our communities relies on responsible clearing and sensible development.
Forestry mulching is more suited to vulnerable environments than any other clearing method. Our passion drives our desire to help developers work with nature.
Read our completed guide on land clearing.