FED UP: Jim Besley spoke about The Caves fire.
FED UP: Jim Besley spoke about The Caves fire. Allan Reinikka ROK030519acavesfi

Grazier frustrated with the constant changes in farming laws

GRAZIER Jim Besley is fed up of having to keep up to date with new laws around vegetation management and primary producing.

Jim has a property at The Caves on Barmoya Rd and a block at Yaaamba.

He's owned his Yaamba block for around 15 years and has been able to have the freedom to do what he pleases with it within reason - up until 12 months ago when the new legislation for vegetation management passed.

The laws were passed in May 2018 with the aim of "increasing protection for high-value regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for important habitats, including waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.”

The main gist of the new law is landholders are now prohibited from clearing for high-value agriculture to improve habitat and protect the environment.

Queensland farmers are restricted to how they use their land, with 1.7 million hectares of developed farming land locked up.

Jim has a "blue ring” around a portion of his land at his Yaamba block.

This means he can't touch it - despite being the sole owner.

"There is nothing I can do about that,” Jim said.

"I can't touch that area, they just tell me there is an endangered species there but I can't find out what that is without costing me money.

"I would like as a primary producer to manage my own place.”

Jim was one of the many farmers and residents who were affected by the devastating Caves fires back in November last year.

It took up four days of Jim's time which is precious as a grazier but he is grateful he only lost a little bit of country.

"While it was fairly frightening I could have lost a lot more and through to all the locals getting together, we fought it off as a team,” he said.

"It was really effective, we kept it back in the rough country so it didn't get out in the open.”

The new vegetation laws restrict landholders from clearing their own land and their fire breaks are limited.

"They have definitely caused a problem, it doesn't allow you as a primary producer to do you own management on how you want to do things,” Jim said.

It was hard to say in hindsight if the November fires could have been different without the new laws, Jim said.

Another frustrating part of being a grazier nowadays is having to keep up with the new laws constantly.

"It's just another job to work out what the laws are at the time.

"No one keeps me informed, I have to go out and find out so it makes it harder.”