FIGHTING HARD: Charleville grazier Dan McDonald (right) with Kennedy MP Bob Katter outside the District Court in Brisbane, last week. Mr McDonald made a last-ditch attempt to overturn his criminal conviction for cutting down trees on his drought-hit property so he could feed starving cattle.
FIGHTING HARD: Charleville grazier Dan McDonald (right) with Kennedy MP Bob Katter outside the District Court in Brisbane, last week. Mr McDonald made a last-ditch attempt to overturn his criminal conviction for cutting down trees on his drought-hit property so he could feed starving cattle. DAN PELED

Predators, dealers get less than a battling grazier

THE fact that landowners are appearing in District Court for clearing their land is absolute madness.

To farm is now a criminal activity. And the Queensland Government should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Dan McDonald, who in 2017 was ordered to pay $112,468 in fines and costs for harvesting mulga scrub to feed starving cows in one of the worst droughts the southwest has witnessed, drove 900km to plead his case last week.

As you can imagine, the justice system did not take into account the seven year, continuous, soul destroying drought that is wiping out livelihoods of regional Queensland.

In fact, senselessly they went one better, ordering Mr McDonald to pay a $40,000, $46,397 investigation costs, $19,709 outlays, $6275 professional costs and $86.40 in court costs.

One of the most abhorrent decisions I have ever come across.

In my time as a journalist I have seen rapists, drug dealers and man-slaughterers get off with far less.

How can it be possibly true that graziers are landing under the same gavel as the scum of the earth?

Mr McDonald has effectively had his life taken away from him for trying to survive. What's more, every landowner of Queensland should be shaking in their boots when Annastacia Palaszczuk puts on an Akubra spuriously claiming she cares about the regions.

The last time I wrote an article on Queensland Vegetation Management laws, I received an abusive phone call from the Minister for State Development and Natural Resources Dr Anthony Lynham's office.

I was told that my article was rubbish and farmers in Charleville are allowed to clear mulga on their land.

They have a lot to answer for.

DO you think the State Government is doing enough during the ongoing drought, if you are a landowner we want to hear your experience. Let us know at editorial@ westernstarnews.com.


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