Farm­ers thank­ful for veg ex­ten­sion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Vic­to­rian farm­ers have ap­plauded the State Gov­ern­ment for tak­ing what they have called a com­mon-sense ap­proach in ex­tend­ing a dead­line for farm­ers to voice con­cerns about a pro­posed over­haul of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion reg­u­la­tions.

The gov­ern­ment orig­i­nally wanted all com­ments on its na­tive veg­e­ta­tion pro­posal in by Fe­bru­ary, but agreed to stretch the dead­line to March.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent David Jochinke said the fed­er­a­tion had ar­gued the orig­i­nal date clashed with the an­nual grain har­vest.

“We’ve al­ways said the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod needed to be ex­tended to give farm­ers the op­por­tu­nity to get off the trac­tor and get their heads around what the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing,” he said.

The VFF has been crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed changes to na­tive veg­e­ta­tion laws for ‘not re­duc­ing the un­nec­es­sary bur­den that makes life dif­fi­cult for the state’s hard­work­ing food pro­duc­ers’.

Mr Jochinke said the farmer group was dis­ap­pointed a more ex­ten­sive re­work­ing of the ‘flawed’ guide­lines was not re­flected in the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal.

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

“But the cur­rent pro­posal is just a con­tin­u­a­tion of the same old red tape for farm­ers to deal with and lim­ited recog­ni­tion of the ex­ten­sive reveg­e­ta­tion works that farm­ers al­ready un­der­take.”

Mr Jochinke said the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ex­tend the con­sul­ta­tion dead­line was an op­por­tu­nity for farm­ers to take their con­cerns di­rectly to the state’s de­ci­sion mak­ers.

“Now we’ve been granted an ex­ten­sion to lodge our con­cerns, it is vi­tal that any farm­ers who are wor­ried they will be im­pacted by these changes stand up and be heard, and tell the gov­ern­ment just how the new laws would af­fect them.”

Mr Jochinke said com­ments and sub­mis­sions would close on March 8 with peo­ple en­cour­aged to lodge in­di­vid­ual sub­mis­sions on­line at en­gage.vic.gov.au/na­tive-veg­e­ta­tion-re­view.

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