FARMERS say federal Labor should dump its plans to impose more restrictions on how farmers manage their land if they are serious about supporting the development of northern Australia.
Farm body AgForce's call comes after Federal Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told the recent Northern Australia Food Futures Conference in Darwin there was no area of public policy more deserving of bipartisanship than agriculture and the development of northern Australia.
AgForce Queensland chief executive officer Mike Guerin said Mr Fitzgibbon’s comments contrasted starkly with Federal Labor's proposal to introduce a new vegetation management ‘trigger’ in Australia's national environment law.
"Demand for our high quality food and fibre is on the rise but we need the right policy settings from governments at all levels if we are to take full advantage of emerging opportunities from a growing Asia to our north," Mr Guerin said.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act needs to be streamlined, not made more complicated for farmers.
"With the Palaszczuk Labor Government passing laws this year that make it harder for Queensland farmers to grow food and shut down new agricultural development opportunities, the last thing we need is for Federal Labor to impose more red tape on our industry.
"The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act needs to be streamlined, not made more complicated for farmers, and that's exactly what the current independent review is seeking to achieve.
"Mr Fitzgibbon says he wants agriculture and northern development policy to be bipartisan while Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten recently claimed he was 'pro-farmer', but they need to back up their words with action.
"Dump this flawed policy proposal to put another layer of regulations on our nation's food producers and instead work with us on a sensible plan to grow agriculture and protect the environment."
Mr Guerin said the Longman by-election this month had provided an opportunity to continue the campaign for fair laws for farmers via stalls at the Caboolture markets, visits to food businesses and a presence at the Woodford cattle sales today.
"Our message to the people of Longman is that more harsh and unnecessary restrictions on how farmers manage their land could potentially lead to higher grocery bills," he said.
"Farmers just want fair, balanced and workable laws from all levels of government so we can grow more food, create more jobs and look after the environment without being strangled in red tape."
The Longman by-election will be held on July 28.
The story Shorten’s land laws will ‘stifle northern development’ first appeared on Queensland Country Life.