NSW Farmers welcomes steps to improve environmental laws on farm

NSW Farmers’ Association welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement today to review elements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act that affect agriculture.

NSW Farmers’ President Derek Schoen said the current Act both duplicates and conflicts with NSW biodiversity laws, and prevents effective management of many native invasive plant species and effective viable control of introduced weeds in many instances.

“We need to protect our unique environment, but the legislation must be practical in its application and not unnecessarily restrict the farming efforts of landholders.

“It’s imperative that scope is provided for landholders to control invasive species and prevent them from overtaking productive areas of farm land.

“One listing alone in the current legislation makes it impossible to treat effected areas and has led to the further spread of invasive species onto neighboring properties. And there are hundreds of listings affecting agriculture.”

Mr Schoen said that farming and environmental management are compatible and need not be seen as conflicting ideas as farmers are very environmentally minded.

“Farmers are the stewards of our land and also make a vital contribution to our nation with the agricultural goods they produce. Government at all levels need to empower them to make environmental management part of their practice, not tie them up in red and green tape.”

“This announcement is an important first step in restoring the laws governing our environment to something that recognizes and works with agriculture. We need a one-stop-shop for farmers so they are not given conflicting advice from state and federal agencies.

We hope that this review will provide opportunity for the concerns of our members to inform amendments to the current listings,” Mr Schoen concluded.

Contact:  Kathleen Curry | Public Relations Director | 0429 011 690
Date: 29 March 2018