Bureaucratic Attack Upon Graziers
'Tough rules mean Margie's stuck with station she can't sell' The Courier-Mail 21/4/2009

GRAZIER Margie Neill, 61, has been doing contract fencing and mustering to raise the money to keep her Surat cattle property going.

But she now faces the prospect of selling her 260 head of cattle, closing Newstead down and living out her life there because she will never be able to sell the place.

Ms Neill expects to be a victim of the Bligh Government's moratorium on regrowth clearing that is likely to lead to tougher rules covering removal.

Unlike other places, hers will not be exempt because she has not lodged a property map of assessable vegetation with the Natural Resources Department. She admits it is her own fault but seven years of drought and very little income meant she couldn't afford to prepare one.

And she fears that will lock up 40% of her 4046ha of "mongrel" sandalwood and box regrowth.

"If I cannot develop that land I will have to put off my employee who lives in a family of seven in accommodation I provide along with electricity," Ms Neill said. "There will be no point trying to improve the property further as it will have no value and I will just have to spend the rest of my life here as it will be impossible to sell. Who would buy something where so much land is locked up?"

Yet Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson had said any tighter controls on regrowth management "would have no impact on rural production".

Opposition frontbencher Howard Hobbs said that if the Government was going to lock up more land, the owners should be adequately compensated for lost development rights.