A new submission by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has found that Victorian agriculture is being held back by excessive regulation.

VCCI chief executive, Mark Stone, stated that the industry is overdue for red tape reduction:

“Governments tend to overlook the fact farmers have a large burden of red-tape regulation applied to them.”

“And it’s not just the farmer, it’s the people that are transporting the goods – the silo operators, the freight to port – the whole agribusiness supply chain.”

“This submission is really to shine the spotlight on the agribusiness sector and see how much we can unlock of that unnecessary regulation.”

Stone described dairy farming as an example of “crippling regulatory burden”, with the industry requiring up to 33 different licences or permits from 10 different regulators. He also identified this issue as effecting the distribution side, with agribusinesses requiring up to 18 licenses or permits from 8 different regulators.

Agribusinesses are regulated at a federal level through the administrative body Food Standards Australia New Zealand, which is currently structured in Victoria so that its rules are executed at a state level by two different departments. Additional state regulation is implemented by bodies such as PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria, which is in addition to further national regulation from the likes of WorkSafe and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as regulations from local governments.

As the IPA has previously stated:

“Australian agriculture has become weighed down by complex, unnecessary and overlapping red tape.”

“This red tape emanates from state, local and federal governments and frequently duplicates regulation imposed by other levels of government.”

The regulation of food production has become convoluted and duplicative, and this red tape must be cut to allow agriculture to fulfil its potential as a productive, sustainable part of the Australian economy.