Complex regulations holding farmers back

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Australia’s agricultural regulations have been slammed for their complexity. Australia’s agricultural regulations have been slammed for their complexity. Australia’s agricultural regulations have been slammed for their complexity.

The Australian Productivity Commission has released a scathing draft report on the over-regulation of farming businesses.

The APC’s Regulation of Australian Agriculture draft report is highly critical of the complex regulations that it says exist at every stage of the supply chain, from land acquisition to marketing.

Productivity commissioner Paul Lindwall says the burden on Australian farmers is far too high and is having a negative impact on the efficiency of the sector.

"Farmers are straining under a heavy burden of regulation that is imposed by multiple agencies across three levels of government," Lindwall says.

"The resulting duplication, inconsistency and redundancy this creates in areas such as heavy vehicle and road use regulation should be addressed promptly."

The Commission is also calling for regulation to be become more evidence-based.

"Some regulation is simply not supported by the evidence, such as bans on genetically modified crops in some states," Lindwall says.

"The recent tightening of the foreign investment regime for agriculture by the Australian Government also lacks a sound policy justification. These regulations are not in the public interest and should be unwound."

The commissioner recommends the establishment of a national, independent body, to deal with the farm animal welfare standards, and to develop nationally consistent regulations.

Native vegetation and biodiversity conservation regulations also need improvement, according to the report.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the findings of the draft report and is calling for a return to evidence-based regulation of the farming sector.

"Queensland farmers do not dispute the necessity and worth of regulations on farm business practices," QFF president Stuart Armitage says.

"It is clear from the Commission’s draft report, however, that the current regulatory heavy model imposed on farmers falls short of this and is having a significant and disproportionate impact on farm businesses.

"These are issues QFF and our industry members have continued to lobby and work constructively with all levels of government to improve and reform.

"We will keep working with government to reduce ineffective red-tape to ensure the potential of Queensland agriculture is realised."

Farmers are encouraged to make submissions on the Australian Productivity Commission’s Regulation of Australian Agriculture draft report via its website

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