Nats election pledge to establish an Ag Commissioner is a good first step
NSW Farmers welcomes the NSW Nationals election commitment to establish an Agriculture Commissioner, who will fight on behalf of farmers on the diverse range of issues and challenges they face.
NSW Farmers’ President, James Jackson, said that the independent Agriculture Commissioner is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done to tackle Right to Farm issues.
“The introduction of an Agriculture Commissioner is a good first step for the sustainability of the agriculture sector, particularly in areas such as planning, environment, transport and infrastructure, and resources and energy.
“We applaud the Commissioner’s remit to tackle the challenges associated with the degradation of the right to farm in NSW, regional and peri-urban planning that punishes farmers, and most importantly, farm trespass.
“If Right to Farm was legislated in the Regional Planning Act, agriculture’s place in the economy and the community would forever be protected against inappropriate restrictions and caveats.”
NSW Farmers is also calling for more action around illegal surveillance and trespass.
“More must be done to deal with the scourge of farm trespass and illegal surveillance. Trespass on farm is not just an illegal act, it is a biosecurity risk, and it is an invasion of a farmer’s privacy.
“Activists should realise that a farm is also a home, and this adversely affects farmers and their families.
“Current legislation in New South Wales is insufficient to properly deal with these issues. Activists are undeterred by the inadequate penalties that currently exist for these offences,” Mr Jackson said.
NSW Farmers further welcomes the broad remit of the Commissioner to tackle any priority issue within the agricultural sector, including ensuring fair commercial dealings for dairy farmers.
“We look forward to working with government to get a better deal for dairy farmers through the establishment of a mandatory code of conduct for dairy.
“We will also actively push for a review into the role of supermarkets, like Coles, in pushing dairy farmers and horticulturalists to the financial edge.”
An independent Agriculture Commissioner and Right to Farm, including tackling farm trespass and illegal surveillance are key pillars of NSW Farmers 2019 state election platform. For more information on this and other policy asks, visit www.nswfarmers.org.au/focus
Date: 5 February 2019
Media Contact: Kathleen Curry | Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690