27 February 2023.
AgForce has welcomed changes to the management of Queensland’s stock route network, following years of advocacy work on behalf of producers.
As part of reforms to the Land and Other Legislation Amendment Bill, passed in Parliament yesterday, the State Government has introduced new laws allowing local councils to retain all of their stock route revenue fees to reinvest back into network maintenance.
The changes will also make it easier for drovers to access and update stock route maps and management plans.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said it was a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable and efficient stock route network.
“On the back of a multiyear advocacy effort, it is pleasing to see some stock route reform has finally passed through Parliament.
“We congratulate the Government on its decision to bring this to conclusion for the benefit of industry, communities, and producers.
“Our aspiration is that we will soon see a functional, active route for travelling stock that serves Queensland for centuries to come.”
The 72,000 km stock route network plays a crucial role in supporting landholders moving livestock, with up to 330,000 stock each year across 48 local government areas.
It also provides pasture for long-term grazing as well as emergency agistment in times of drought.
Under reforms, local councils will also be able to charge drovers an application fee to cover some administrative costs.
These changes in the fee structure, combined with proposed revisions to permit fees, mean that fees are estimated to recover 38 per cent of the cost of local councils managing that network.
Importantly, councils will be able to waive these fees in cases of hardship - for example, during drought.
Mr Guerin added: “It is critical that local governments have the funding and authority to lead the maintenance and upkeep of this important infrastructure.
“However, we need to ensure that there is a fair fee structure in place, so that the benefits of a more functional stock route network outweigh any additional costs.
“Rest assured we will continue to advocate for producers, as further reform is necessary to protect this valuable infrastructure for its core purpose.”
Media Contact: AgForce CEO Michael Guerin 0488 002 092