Farm­ers: Ef­fort not recog­nised

AgLife - - News -

Vic­to­rian farm­ers are dis­heart­ened by a State Gov­ern­ment re­view into na­tive vege­ta­tion reg­u­la­tions.

The Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion is crit­i­cal of the new con­sul­ta­tion pa­per, claim­ing it was a lost op­por­tu­nity for the gov­ern­ment to work with farm­ers to de­velop solid out­comes for agri­cul­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment.

VFF pres­i­dent David Jochinke said the pa­per failed to re­duce an un­nec­es­sary bur­den that made life dif­fi­cult for the state’s food pro­duc­ers.

He said the farmer group was dis­ap­pointed the pa­per failed to re­flect pro­duc­tive dis­cus­sions around wip­ing com­plex­ity from the reg­u­la­tions.

“We have ar­gued for a sim­pli­fied process for man­ag­ing na­tive vege­ta­tion across the state, pro­vid­ing a model that farm­ers can un­der­stand and work to­wards,” Mr Jochinke said.

“But we’re strug­gling to see where the gov­ern­ment has taken into ac­count the needs of our farm­ers.

“It looks like a con­tin­u­a­tion of the same old red tape for farm­ers to deal with and no recog­ni­tion of the ex­ten­sive reveg­e­ta­tion works farm­ers al­ready un­der­take.”

Mr Jochinke said the VFF wanted to work with the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment spe­cific reg­u­la­tions for farm­ing that would recog­nise farm­ers were not chang­ing the use of their land, but us­ing new tools to stay com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket.

“Agri­cul­ture is so crit­i­cal to the health and well­be­ing of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and the Vic­to­rian econ­omy,” he said.

“Farm­ers need ac­cess to new tech­nol­ogy and big­ger ma­chin­ery in or­der to stay com­pet­i­tive, and that could mean the strate­gic re­moval of trees.

“Our farm­ers have demon­strated a will­ing­ness to spend time and money on un­der­tak­ing works such as reveg­e­ta­tion in lo­ca­tions where it is good for the farm and good for en­vi­ron­ment.

“But our mem­bers are telling us their ef­forts to reveg­e­tate are not be­ing counted by the gov­ern­ment.”

Mr Jochinke said the VFF was also dis­ap­pointed by the tim­ing of the gov­ern­ment’s con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment, which re­quired re­sponses by the start of Fe­bru­ary.

“Broad­acre grains pro­duc­ers, who are fac­ing the big­gest pro­duc­tiv­ity bur­den from these reg­u­la­tions, are head­ing into the busiest time of their year,” he said.

“The con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod needs to be ex­tended to give them the op­por­tu­nity to get off their head­ers and get their heads around what the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing.

“Af­ter drought and poor sea­sons, we need to have mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment to ex­plain how we will all be af­fected.”

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