FEDERAL Labor’s proposal to introduce a new vegetation management “trigger” in Australia’s national environment law will force up the price of food for consumers, farming body AgForce has warned.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin attended markets at Caboolture north of Brisbane on the weekend to speak to voters in Longman about the impact of Federal Labor’s proposal.
He said the additional red tape was directly contravened Productivity Commission recommendations to reduce regulatory duplication.
“With the Palaszczuk Government passing laws this year that make it harder for Queensland farmers to grow food and shut down new agricultural development opportunities, the last thing we need is for Federal Labor to impose more red tape on our industry.
“This push for more red tape is in direct conflict with the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to reduce ‘overlap and duplication’ because vegetation regulations ‘often involve costly and complex processes’ that ‘do not always result in improved environmental outcomes’.
“Making it more costly and complex to grow food could lead to higher grocery bills. With reduced supply and greater demand for a product, the only way prices can go is up.
“Bill Shorten claims to be ‘pro-farmer’ so here’s his opportunity to prove it. Dump this flawed policy proposal to put another layer of regulations on our nation’s food producers and instead work with us on a sensible plan to grow agriculture and protect the environment.”
Mr Guerin said the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 needed to be streamlined, not made more complicated, with farmers warmly welcoming the independent review that was currently underway.
“The EPBC Act generally lacks transparency in regards to the obligations of landholders and is in need of refinement to provide farmers with the certainty they need to do their jobs and grow their businesses,” he said.
“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. Because if farmers can’t feed their own families, they can’t feed yours.”