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Slashing red-tape for farmers a priority

28 February 2007

AUSTRALIA'S farmers will be 'first-cab-of-the-rank' in a new Productivity Commission review to cut through the choking layers of bureaucratic red-tape that beset agriculture – particularly needed to make sense of the myriad of local, state and national regulations on farm businesses.

"Today's announcement by the Australian Government that farming will be the first sector reviewed highlights the need for farmers to be allowed to get on with building efficiencies to compete on the international stage, rather than grappling with layers of red-tape," NFF CEO Ben Fargher said.

"For example, environmental regulations – most notably the complete lack of uniformity between jurisdictions and the impact of competing requirements – plunges farm businesses into tremendous uncertainty and an unreasonably time-consuming task of wading through paperwork and regulations that exist across local, state and national requirements.

"Meanwhile, the differences between state authorities in areas such as header transportation guidelines, livestock loading, multi-trailer restrictions and general permit thresholds, create enormous inequities between states.

"For example, while there are livestock loading schemes in Victoria and Queensland, no equivalent scheme exists in NSW. This adds an additional level of complexity and cost to interstate transport. In fact, there are 750 separate agencies across the nation responsible for controlling Australia’s 800,000km of roads, representing a $100 billion asset.

"Over-regulation or unpredictable regulation hurts all businesses, particularly farmers who are at the bottom of the commercial food chain and rely on efficiencies for their competitiveness.

"It is our fervent hope that this latest review will make good on the promise of finally correcting the imbalances and returning commonsense to the regulatory load farmers carry."

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Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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