Farm groups unite on red tape

Ag leaders say regulation should be a 'last resort'

Farm Online News
United: CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri (centre) hosted Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage and AgForce president Grant Maudsley on his cane farm outside Mackay on Tuesday.

United: CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri (centre) hosted Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage and AgForce president Grant Maudsley on his cane farm outside Mackay on Tuesday.

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Queensland’s farm leaders have joined forces to call on the next state government to back industry programs, rather than bureaucratic intervention, as the best way to improve water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.

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Three of Queensland’s peak farming groups have united to push for simplified agricultural best management practice (BMP) programs.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley joined with CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri and Queensland Farmers' Federation President Stuart Armitage in Mackay today (Tuesday) to highlight how BMP programs were the most enduring way to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef.

"Like all Queenslanders, farmers want to see the Great Barrier Reef protected and preserved for future generations," he said.

"The agricultural sector is doing its bit to improve water quality through the roll-out of Best Management Practice programs that help farmers benchmark their business against the best industry standards using the best available science.

"More than 2000 Queensland cattle producers managing more than 28 million hectares of land have now adopted the Grazing BMP program to both boost their budget bottom line and showcase their environmental credentials.

"This State Election it's important politicians recognise that balancing sustainable development with good environmental outcomes. The best way to achieve real practical change in the agricultural sector is through leading by example, providing incentives and giving landholders a sense of ownership towards the change."

CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri hosted his fellow leaders on his Mackay sugarcane farm this morning (Tuesday). 

He said the groups were united in the belief that best management practice (BMP) programs were the most effective way for farmers to help the Reef.

“Over-zealous regulations, reaching down to interfere with a farmers’ day to day work on the land, place a restrictive red tape burden on industry,” he said.

“Regulations promote a minimum standard but our cooperative farm improvement programs encourage continual innovation and pride.

“The major parties campaigning in this State Election have been supportive of our sugarcane industry Smartcane BMP program and we urge them to now take the next step of giving industry the responsibility of driving the future of our relationship with the Reef.

“It is a challenge but as an industry we are up for it,” Mr Schembri said.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage said QFF did not support increasing regulation. “Regulation should be a last resort not a first response”, Mr Armitage said. “Regulation is a blunt instrument that supports minimum standards of compliance at the expense of true practice change, and it does little to encourage a culture of innovation and excellence.” 

The story Farm groups unite on red tape first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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