National Farmers' Federation

Red tape chokes farmers

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today called for all levels of Government to make the reduction of red tape on business a top priority for 2006.
“The paperwork warfare faced by farmers, day in day out due to regulatory requirements of all levels of Government, Federal, State and Local, has to stop, said Mr Peter Corish, NFF President.
Mr Corish said that farmers as small businesses were being inundated with rules and regulations to the extent that they cannot concentrate on the business at hand, put simply, running a farm.
“NFF welcomed the establishment of the Australian Government Regulation Taskforce last year and we hope their report, due to be submitted to the Government next week, takes on the concerns of the agriculture industry,” Mr Corish said.
“The Taskforce should embrace the opportunity to make major changes to the way Governments and the business community look towards resolving issues using less regulation and instead implementing more practical solutions.
“Native vegetation laws remains a major problem in the agriculture industry. While the regulations exists primarily at a State level, serious concerns remain about complicating overlaps with Commonwealth jurisdiction and local planning laws.”
Mr Corish highlighted that a Productivity Commission had already concluded that native vegetation regulation jeopardises resource security and hinders farmers’ ability to invest in sustainable production systems. NFF strongly urges the Taskforce to reaffirm the findings of the Commission and recommend immediate action to remove the draconian native vegetation laws.
“Employment is another key area of unnecessary complexity. While the NFF believes the introduction of the new Work Choices system will reduce compliance burden in employment there are still significant problems in the areas of occupational health and safety, superannuation, immigration and Centrelink compliance,” Mr Corish said.
Mr Corish also stressed the ongoing problems associated with cross border variations in regulations in relation to agricultural chemical and fertiliser usage and food safety standards.
“NFF believes better targeting of measures and thresholds of regulation is one way of tackling the major problem of red tape burden to business. NFF also recommends increased investment in implementation resources to assist small business in managing red tape and a leadership role to be taken by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on best practice legislation and cross jurisdiction harmonisation,” Mr Corish concluded.

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