Farmers: Effort not recognised
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.”