The National Farmers Federation has welcomed the release of a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), which backs the NFF’s own findings that farm businesses are struggling under the growing weight of unnecessary regulation.
Two months after the NFF released its Red Tape in Australian Agriculture paper, ABARES on Friday released its Review of Selected Regulatory Burdens on Agriculture and Forestry Businesses report, which found that Government action could help reduce regulatory burden for farmers and graziers.
NFF chief executive Matt Linnegar said the report was a good start, helping the Government to understand the problem and its potential solutions, but critically, it must now translate into action.
“The Government has promised to cut red and green tape across Australian businesses by $1 billion a year – and as the NFF and ABARES reports now both show, agriculture would be an ideal place for the Government to start as unnecessary regulation is a huge cost burden for farmers,” Mr Linnegar said in a statement.
The ABARES report found that for about a quarter of all regulations studied, Government action could help cut unnecessary red tape.
“It will come as no surprise to farmers that the report also shows that removing unnecessary regulations will add to the profitability of farming businesses,” Mr Linnegar said.
“The report identifies a couple of the areas that the NFF has already called for action on: environmental law, where there is often overlapping and duplicating regulation at both state and federal levels; and workplace health and safety and water property rights, where there are inconsistencies in regulation between various states and territories,” he said.
“We know that it’s important to have some regulation, but critically, it’s about having the right amount and the right type: those that help farmers, not hinder them or cause unnecessary time or cost impacts.”
“It’s important for Governments to understand this: to understand regulation from a farmers’ perspective, including the costs to individual farm businesses from layers of regulation.”
The NFF called on the Government to strategically assess all the areas where regulation is burdening farm businesses – and to take steps to free-up farmers and graziers to help increase returns at the farm gate, as the Minister had promised.
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