Committed to ensuring Local Land Services delivers

NSW Farmers is committed to continue its work to ensure the new Local Land Services agency delivers services that meet the needs of farmers following the NSW Government’s announcement today.

The association’s President Fiona Simson said she was pleased the government will continue to fund the existing 49 extension staff to be transferred from the Department of Primary Industries and will use the funds created from the mergers of several organisations to ensure that local agencies can employ more people on the ground.

Ms Simson also welcomed the release of boundaries for the new agency (in particular Central Tablelands and the Western Division) which have followed social and production criteria that were put forward by members of NSW Farmers at consultation meetings across the state.

“We have always said that localism is the key to getting this new agency to work at the grass roots level and we are pleased the government is proposing to give local farmers the freedom to make local decisions about priorities and assets at a local level,” she said.

However, Ms Simson said NSW Farmers believes that the LLS will have stronger and more stable local boards if elected representatives are brought in at the establishment of the new agency.

Ms Simson added that having boards weighted towards appointed positions would reduce ownership of the LLS at the local level and board accountability to ratepayers.

“We will be working urgently with government to ensure that the appointment process is used to reflect local needs,” she said.

“The new agency needs to have legitimacy as a locally based organisation representing and delivering on four key service areas including agricultural extension, biosecurity and emergency management plus natural resource management (NRM).

“The government needs to be aware that many of our farming members still fear the actions of the agency will remain NRM centric and not address all service areas. This perception and issue needs to remain top of mind in the coming months as the agency is developed and appointments made.”

The new agency replaces the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities, the Catchment Authority and some of the Department of Primary Industries services.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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