Review risks revolt

The NSW Government has been warned not to pit farmers against the environment following the release of a statutory review.

The independent review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act – conducted by a panel led by Dr Ken Henry – made 58 recommendations, some of which could have drastic impacts on food and fibre production.

NSW Farmers CEO Pete Arkle said while the government had repeatedly promised to work in conjunction with the agricultural industry – which was essential – there was a risk of a return to “the bad old days”. 

“We are in a situation now where farmers are recognised as being good stewards of the landscape, working to produce healthy plants and healthy animals with world-leading sustainability credentials,” Mr Arkle said.

“This review is very concerning because it pushes for a move away from building co-operation between agriculture and the environment, increasing regulatory burden and time-consuming compliance. 

“If the NSW Government is truly keen to work with farmers, then it needs to ask for a refund on this review and take a closer look at its own processes.”

Mr Arkle said Australian farmers were some of the most productive in the world, adopting technologies and practices to reduce environmental impacts long before they were mandated, but this had been ignored by tin-eared ‘experts’.

“We have delegations from around the world coming to learn from us on carbon sequestration and no-till farming, things we have been doing for many, many years,” Mr Arkle said.

“But there is now a real risk that we will see the bad old days of the ‘farmer versus environment’ rhetoric return, the sort of rubbish that is ignorant of modern agriculture.

“This sort of regulatory overreach is the very last thing we need during tough economic times, and we strongly urge the government to avoid revolt and not go down this road.”

Date: Friday, August 25, 2023
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]