There has been much talk in the media recently about the possibility of primary producers being paid to create a Vegetation Management Offset. Our own knowledge of primary production would indicate the vast number of primary producers have been undertaking farming and grazing practices for many years which would preserve carbon in soil and vegetation.
While the idea of Vegetation Management Offsets (where you "lockup" an area to allow the vegetation to return to the status of what is generally called "Remnant Vegetation") is an excellent idea, the problem is that in Queensland there is really no provision in the Vegetation Management legislation which allows for it. The only relevant provisions allowing for Vegetation Management Offsets are those which relate to areas which are referred to as "high conservation value" or alternatively "vulnerable to land degradation".
The problem seems to be that the use of those provisions in the legislation would classify land as being of high nature conservation value or vulnerable to land degradation when it is really not country of that type and consequentially that the vegetation map (the PMAV) for the property needs to be altered. When a grazier does this, is it possible that the PMAV could be totally reclassified either then or in the future (on the basis that the particular ("offset") area had no particular significance and is similar to the remainder of the property)? Furthermore the only security which can be given involves what we call a "blot on the title" which would undoubtedly affect the value of the property.
What is sorely needed is amendment to the legislation to allow an "ordinary" area of a property (not presently restricted from land clearing or sucker control) to be "preserved" under a Vegetation Offset Agreement (which would allow return to Remnant Vegetation status) without having to classify the area as an area of high conservation value or an area vulnerable to land degradation (when it is really not land in that category), and allowing the PMAV to be altered only in regard to the "offset" area.