Re­view the right step for­ward for the farmer

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

AN ‘AGRI­CUL­TURE spe­cific’ re­view of Aus­tralia’s na­tional en­vi­ron­ment law is an op­por­tu­nity to en­sure the best out­comes are be­ing achieved for the en­vi­ron­ment, farm­ers and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

That’s ac­cord­ing to AgForce gen­eral pres­i­dent Grant Maud­s­ley, who warmly wel­comed the an­nounce­ment of a tar­geted, in­de­pen­dent re­view of the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999.

Mr Maud­s­ley said farm­ers were ded­i­cated to look­ing af­ter their land and pro­tect­ing bio­di­ver­sity on their prop­er­ties while go­ing about their jobs of pro­duc­ing the high-qual­ity food and fi­bre that con­sumers de­mand.

“AgForce mem­bers man­age al­most half of Queens­land’s agri­cul­tural land­scape and take pride in their role as en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ards and land cus­to­di­ans for cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” he said.

“Farm­ers recog­nise that reg­u­la­tion is im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas like biose­cu­rity and food safety, but there is no doubt there are many ex­am­ples of en­vi­ron­men­tal and trans­port reg­u­la­tions that add un­nec­es­sary costs to farm busi­nesses.

“Queens­land agri­cul­ture is af­fected by al­most 18,000 pages of reg­u­la­tions in more than 75 Acts of Par­lia­ment just at the state level, so it’s vi­tal every ef­fort is made to re­duce over­laps and avoid du­pli­ca­tion at the na­tional level.”

Mr Maud­s­ley said the EPBC Act gen­er­ally lacked trans­parency in re­gards to the obli­ga­tions of land­hold­ers, and there was a need for a more stream­lined process around the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween fed­eral and state en­vi­ron­men­tal laws.

“The EPBC Act is in need of re­fine­ment to pro­vide farm­ers with the cer­tainty they need to do their jobs and grow their busi­nesses,” he said.

“Be­cause if farm­ers can’t feed their own fam­i­lies, they can’t feed yours.”

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