Election call for environmental stewardship fund

Election call for environmental stewardship fund
April 26 2019

Queensland’s sugarcane growers say this Federal Election is the perfect time to abandon the regulatory big stick approach to managing agriculture and the environment and move with the market for a sustainable future for both.

CANEGROWERS, along with other key farming industries within the National Farmers’ Federation, is urging an incoming Australian Government to invest $1 billion to develop market-based instruments which work to protect the country’s natural assets while allowing agriculture to continue grow.

“This shift is already happening for sugar – buyers are demanding a sustainable product and Queensland growers are responding through the industry’s Best Management Practice program (Smartcane BMP) which is aligned to and accepted by international standards for sustainable sugar,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“Growers have spent the past two decades improving farm layouts to include wetlands and other barriers to reduce agricultural runoff and adopting innovations in farming practices.

“As well as protecting the Great Barrier Reef through improved water quality and continuing to be productive cane producers, our farms are providing important wildlife habitats.

“All of this work is giving Queensland sugar an edge in a market where food manufacturers, pushed by consumers, are wanting to prove the sustainability credentials of their products."

This message of sustainability aligning to market forces was strongly delivered by sugarcane growers recently at four regional public hearings into the Queensland Government’s Reef Bill which is currently before State Parliament.

“We don’t need more regulation on our industry,“ Mr Galligan said. “It is insulting, inefficient and diverts attention from continual innovation and improvement.

“An incoming Australian Government has the opportunity to work with us to harness market forces for change and urge the Queensland Government to abandon its regulatory approach.”

Along with other members of the National Farmers’ Federation, CANEGROWERS is calling on the campaigning parties to commit to:
“Establish an Environmental Stewardship Fund with an initial investment of $1 billion to facilitate the development of market-based instruments for biophysical assets (natural capital) that includes a focus on listed threatened species and communities.”
This is a key platform of the National Farmers’ Federation 2019 Federal Election Priorities