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, AgForce Queensland Farmers said.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley 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 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.
Mr Maudsley said this announcement of an agriculture-specific review of Australia’s national environmental law came as regional communities rallied throughout Queensland against new state vegetation management laws that would make it harder for farmers to grow food.
“Farmers just want fair, balanced and workable laws from all levels of government so we can grow more food, create more jobs and look after the environment without being strangled in red tape,” he said.
“Because if farmers can’t feed their own families, they can’t feed yours.”