Farm­ers fed­er­a­tion hits out at red tape bur­den

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS WHY I DO WHAT I DO -

THE Queens­land Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion (QFF) has wel­comed the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s draft re­port on the ‘Reg­u­la­tion of Aus­tralian Agri­cul­ture’ that has called for a re­turn to ev­i­dence based reg­u­la­tion of the sec­tor.

The Com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied what QFF and in­dus­try mem­bers have been say­ing for a long time: that the amount and com­plex­ity of reg­u­la­tions at ev­ery stage of the sup­ply chain weighs heav­ily on the sec­tor’s pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

QFF pres­i­dent Stu­art Ar­mitage stated that the du­pli­ca­tion across gov­ern­ments, in­con­sis­tency, re­dun­dancy of reg­u­la­tion and cu­mu­la­tive bur­den across the en­tire agri­cul­ture sec­tor must be ad­dressed for Queens­land agri­cul­ture to re­alise its po­ten­tial.

“Queens­land farm­ers do not dis­pute the ne­ces­sity and worth of reg­u­la­tions on farm busi­ness prac­tices.

“The in­dus­try does how­ever ex­pect that the ra­tio­nale and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for these reg­u­la­tions be based in ev­i­dence and on a re­al­is­tic un­der­stand­ing of com­mu­nity val­ues.”

“It is clear from the Com­mis­sion’s draft re­port that the cur­rent reg­u­la­tory heavy model im­posed on Queens­land farm­ers falls short of this and is hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant and dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact on farm busi­nesses.”

Mr Ar­mitage said QFF sup­ports in prin­ci­ple a num­ber of the draft rec­om­men­da­tions in­clud­ing:

ev­i­dence and risk based re­forms to na­tive veg­e­ta­tion and bio­di­ver­sity reg­u­la­tion

mar­ket-based ap­proaches to recog­nise the en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices land­hold­ers pro­vide to the com­mu­nity

im­prov­ing the way gov­ern­ments en­gage with land­hold­ers about en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions

ex­pe­dit­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of a na­tional con­trol-of-use regime for agri­cul­tural and vet­eri­nary chem­i­cals that is based on ev­i­dence and risk

en­sur­ing that the re­quire­ments for mov­ing over­sized agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery are pro­por­tion­ate to the risks in­volved.

“These are is­sues QFF and our in­dus­try mem­bers have con­tin­ued to lobby and work con­struc­tively with all lev­els of gov­ern­ment to im­prove and re­form.”

The draft re­port highlighted the un­cer­tainly on­go­ing changes to reg­u­la­tion cre­ates in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor – with par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to the fluc­tu­a­tions in na­tive veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment in Queens­land – and how this can un­nec­es­sar­ily re­strict farm man­age­ment de­ci­sions and re­duce in­vest­ment.

“QFF and its in­dus­try mem­bers will con­tinue to work con­struc­tively with all lev­els of gov­ern­ment to re­duce in­ef­fec­tive red and green tape to en­sure the po­ten­tial across Queens­land agri­cul­ture is re­alised,” said Mr Ar­mitage.

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