The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has once again spoken out against proposed state government reforms which would increase red tape, following on from their criticism last October.

VFF President David Jochinke stated:

“We have argued for a simplified process for managing native vegetation across the state, providing a model that farmers can understand and work towards”.

“But we’re struggling to see where the Government has taken into account the needs of our farmers. It looks like a continuation of the same old red tape for farmers to deal with and no recognition of the extensive revegetation works that farmers already undertake.”

The proposals include forcing landowners who clear native vegetation to replant an area 1.5 to 2 times the “ecological value” of what they cleared, and reducing the threshold for the “low cost simplified process” from less than 15 trees or a hectare of bushland, to no large trees and half a hectare of bushland.

Mr. Jochinke argued that the inability to perform land clearing would be damaging to the productivity of Victorian agriculture:

“Farmers need access to new technology and bigger machinery in order to stay competitive and that could mean the strategic removal of trees.”

“Our farmers have demonstrated a willingness to spend time and money on undertaking works such as revegetation in locations where it is good for the farm and good for environment. But our members are telling us their efforts to revegetate are not being counted by the Government.”

As the IPA’s Darcy Allen and Daniel Wild wrote on native vegetation laws:

“In recent years’ native vegetation rules have cost millions of dollars and placed huge regulatory uncertainties upon our farmers.”

“All Australian jurisdictions require a new approach to native vegetation management that is not consistently skewed towards stricter and more complex red tape.”

Australian farmers are being smothered by onerous regulations, and the IPA calls for Australian governments to reduce and simplify their regulatory processes.

By Michael Husek