Independent review to examine interaction between environmental law and agricultural sector

AN independent review will look at the interaction between environmental law and the agriculture sector to ensure positive environmental and economic outcomes are achieved, the Australian Government announced last week.

Dr Wendy Craik will undertake targeted consultation to examine areas for possible red-tape reduction and provide the government with a final report by the middle of this year.

'Harvested field', Runnymede, Victoria
Above: 'Harvested field', Runnymede, Victoria / by Indigo Skies Photography.

Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 builds on a recommendation of the Productivity Commission's 2017 report into the Regulation of Australian Agriculture.

"It is important that we get the balance right between protecting our environment and allowing our agriculture sector to grow and prosper," Mr Frydenberg said.

"The Productivity Commission's Report found it could be unduly onerous on a farmer to deal with the complexity of their requirements and actions requiring compliance with the Act. The red-tape burden costs fall disproportionately on the farmer.

"That said, Australia has a spectacular natural environment which needs to be protected and nurtured for future generations to enjoy. It's about getting the balance right to deliver the best environmental and economic outcomes."

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said his job was to get government out of farmers' lives. "Family businesses simply trying to manage their land are drowning in paperwork," he said.

"We need to make life simple for them and let them produce the best food and fibre in the world. We don't want sensible projects which benefit both environment and farmer to be stalled because of mountains of paperwork. We want to hear from farmers who have practical suggestions on these issues.

"It is our job to provide regulations that are clear, sensible, and easy to navigate and harmonised across jurisdictions where practical."

Dr Craik has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors including in her current role as the Chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. She is also a former Executive Director of the National Farmers' Federation and President of the National Competition Council.

More information about the review, including the Terms of Reference, is available from the Department of the Environment and Energy website at <>.

Photo: 'Harvested field', Runnymede, Victoria / Indigo Skies Photography / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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