VFF urges government to take the axe to red tape

Wednesday 29 March 2017

RED tape is strangling the agriculture industry and the Federal Government needs to wind back unnecessary regulations, says Victoria’s peak farmer group.

The Victorian Farmers Federation has backed the findings of a Productivity Commission review into regulation in the farm sector released yesterday that found Australian farm businesses face
“a vast and complex array of regulations at every stage of the agricultural supply chain”.

Among the recommendations were that State and Territory governments should assist landholders in understanding environmental regulations and that reforms should be pursued to improve the efficiency of road infrastructure investment.

VFF President David Jochinke said it was pleasing to see the report broadly support the reform of regulation in the agriculture sector and called on the Federal Government to immediately implement the recommendations.

“We’ve said all along that government needs to relieve farmers of the regulatory burden they face because it’s a drain on one of our biggest industries,” he said.

“This report clearly shows that fewer regulations will increase productivity and lower costs, while taxpayers won’t be expected to foot the bill to ensure the regulations are followed.

“Now it’s up to the Federal Government to be bold and act on the recommendations.”

But Mr Jochinke said while the report was a good starting point on the path to regulatory reform, there were some issues that deserved further analysis.

“This is a great blue print for building a more sustainable industry, but it fails to require lawmakers to ask whether regulation is the only option or whether other compliance initiatives such as industry codes or self-regulation should be used.”

“The report emphasised the need to communicate regulations, and we feel that there the communication lines between regulators and industry are open, but the default proposition too often is to regulate.”

“The first priority is to make sure our farmers are relieved of the crushing burden felt by over-regulation across the industry.”

Mr Jochinke said relaxing regulations was vital to ensuring continued growth in the agriculture industry after the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) forecast that agriculture production would increase to a record $63.8 billion in 2016-17.

Media Contacts:

David Jochinke, VFF President: 0427 834 524

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784