HOW DID THE LAND CLEARING LAWS COME INTO IT?
- Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan says farmers have told him restrictions on land clearing that were made law in May resulted in recent bushfires being more intense.
- Senator Canavan said an independent inquiry was needed to investigate if that was the case.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the idea.
- But Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham says climate change is the cause, not the vegetation management laws.
- Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington got on board with an inquiry, saying it should also probe a potential link between delays for fire permits and the government's oversight of national parks as potential causes.
WHY ARE THE LAWS A BIG DEAL?
- All sides of politics in Queensland have essentially fought over the right to clear or protect land for decades.
- The conservatives say restrictions on vegetation management is a headache for farmers, particularly in drought, because it limits food sources for livestock and the amount of land they can run on.
- But environmentalists and left-leaning politicians say the laws are needed to protect habitats and reduce the impact of natural disasters like floods.
- From a legislative perspective, the laws have been chopped and changed depending on who is in government at the time, so debate is likely to continue.
WHAT DO THE LAWS MEAN FOR FARMERS?
- It is harder for farmers and landholders to clear vegetation from their properties, but not impossible.
- They can still put in fire breaks, clear tracks and carry out burn-offs to prevent bushfires.
- For at least some of those actions they first require a permit.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
- Energy Minister Anthony Lynham says the government will undertake a review that is standard for a natural disaster of this scale.
- As for an inquiry, he says that is up to the government to decide together.
- There is no time frame as to when that decision could be made.
- The conservatives are likely to keep pushing for an inquiry because they want farmers to be able to clear more land.