Re­view of biose­cu­rity laws

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News -

NSW Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion wel­comes the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment to re­view el­e­ments of the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act that af­fect agri­cul­ture.

NSW Farm­ers’ pres­i­dent Derek Schoen said the cur­rent Act du­pli­cates and con­flicts with NSW bio­di­ver­sity laws, and pre­vents ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of many na­tive in­va­sive plant species and ef­fec­tive vi­able con­trol of in­tro­duced weeds in many in­stances.

“We need to pro­tect our unique en­vi­ron­ment, but the leg­is­la­tion must be prac­ti­cal in its ap­pli­ca­tion and not un­nec­es­sar­ily re­strict the farm­ing ef­forts of land­hold­ers,” he said.

“It’s im­per­a­tive that scope is pro­vided for land­hold­ers to con­trol in­va­sive species and pre­vent them from over­tak­ing pro­duc­tive ar­eas of farm land.

“One list­ing alone in the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion makes it im­pos­si­ble to treat af­fected ar­eas and has led to the fur­ther spread of in­va­sive species onto neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties. And there are hun­dreds of list­ings af­fect­ing agri­cul­ture.” Mr Schoen said that farm­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment are com­pat­i­ble and need not be seen as con­flict­ing ideas as farm­ers are very en­vi­ron­men­tally minded.

“Farm­ers are the stew­ards of our land and also make a vi­tal con­tri­bu­tion to our na­tion with the agri­cul­tural goods they pro­duce. Gov­ern­ment at all lev­els need to em­power them to make en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment part of their prac­tice, not tie them up in red and green tape.

“This an­nounce­ment is an im­por­tant first step in restor­ing the laws gov­ern­ing our en­vi­ron­ment to some­thing that recog­nises and works with agri­cul­ture. We need a one-stop-shop for farm­ers so they are not given con­flict­ing ad­vice from state and fed­eral agen­cies.

“We hope that this re­view will pro­vide op­por­tu­nity for the con­cerns of our mem­bers to in­form amend­ments to the cur­rent list­ings.”

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