National representative body, GrainGrowers today welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report on regulation in agriculture which supported many of the recommendations which the organisation made in its submission last year.
GrainGrowers called on the Federal Government to act promptly on implementing the recommendations that related to the grains industry supply chain so that farmers could get on with the business of farming unhampered by unnecessary red tape.
David McKeon, GrainGrowers General Manager – Policy & Innovation, said that the big ticket items for grain growers from this review included:
- streamlining of environmental regulations affecting farms in order to make these obligations clearer and more straightforward
- the removal of unnecessary state moratoria on genetically modified crops
- the need for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to speed up the agricultural chemical application process by better taking into account international research
- the need for more appropriate and harmonised heavy vehicle regulation.
“GrainGrowers is pleased to see that the major red tape constraints we identified in our submission which are impeding the operation of grain farming businesses have been recognised in the PC’s report,” Mr McKeon said.
“We now call on the Federal Government to enact the PC’s recommendations which would reduce red tape across the grains industry supply chain – saving growers time and money and ultimately resulting in increased profitability and efficiency.
“We are pleased to see that the PC has identified that much of the red tape constraining productivity does not have a sound policy justification or could be done in a better, simpler way to achieve the objectives of the government, community and industry.
“We would particularly support the removal of non-evidence based state bans on genetically modified crops.
“Australian grain growers should be able to make a choice about whether they use available technology, including biotechnology, to sustain competitive and profitable businesses.
“Australia is well placed to manage genetically modified crops given our first class national regulatory system governing this technology through the OGTR – which bases its decisions on science, not the emotion.
“State-based regulations/moratoria are simply creating complexity and duplication where none need exist.”
The PC has also recommended that the regulation of agricultural chemicals be reformed to better use international evidence in assessments.
“GrainGrowers fully supports the end of unnecessary duplication in agricultural chemical assessments. Where international evidence exists it should be used to cut down delays in bringing new agricultural chemicals onto the market,” said Mr McKeon.
GrainGrowers was also pleased that the PC had agreed there was unnecessary complexity facing farmers given the various competing regulatory requirements from different levels of government and that it was up to the regulators to communicate their requirements more clearly to farmers.
“Grain growers who farm near state borders know only too well that the different complex regulatory requirements of each state’s legislation are a real headache,” said Mr McKeon.
“We now look forward to the Federal Government acting on this report in line with the Agriculture White Paper to increase productivity and profitability in the agricultural sector.”
GrainGrowers’ 2016 submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into regulation in agriculture can be read here:
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