A vegetation management bill put forward by the Katter's Australian Party pushing to give producers more power to fodder harvest during drought has been knocked back in Queensland parliament.
The bill proposed changes to the Vegetation Management Act designed to ensure grazing is considered a relevant purpose for high value agriculture clearing and to oblige officials to notify cattle producers when their clearing applications were rejected.
A later amendment to the bill also pushed to give producers greater capabilities to harvest mulga during drought.
The bill was voted down 48 to 43 last Tuesday with party leader Robbie Katter saying the result was disappointing.
"This is about tidying up the laws we have," he said.
"There are stories about families that have spent $400,000 on applications that are still in limbo. There's no obligation to tell them how their application is progressing and there should be."
"We also wanted grazing activities to be included in those areas that are already approved for high-value agriculture."
Mr Katter said there was also a need to make it easier for producers in south west Queensland to benefit from underutilised mulga resources.
"The current system is too rigid to allow efficient harvesting," he said.
Cook MP Cynthia Lui spoke against the bill in parliament, saying it provided very little detail on how the changes would support long-term economic growth and sustainable environmental protections into the future.
"The amendments put forward in this private member's bill will look only to abolish the strong framework already in place and, if anything, strip any accountability and transparency measures that are there to protect our greatest asset, our natural environment and biodiversity," she said.
Warrego MP Ann Leahy said the bill didn't go far enough.
"It is simple: the people in my electorate have been managing and harvesting mulga for 100 years and fodder harvesting is not tree clearing," she said.
"They want workable, practical vegetation management landscape laws that cut through the red tape, streamline the processes and give certainty - drought or no drought - to the ability to harvest fodder and manage the thickening of that vegetation."
Mr Katter is now pushing for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to give a directive allowing producers in the mulga lands greater harvesting permissions during the drought.
"It doesn't cost the taxpayer anything, we don't have to cart hay, we just have to allow them to use this resource," he said.