A State Government move to impose a new bureaucratic process on farmers expanding their cropping area along the Queensland coast is unnecessary and duplicates existing regulation on the sugarcane industry.
“Sugarcane growing should be exempt from these proposed new rules in Great Barrier Reef catchments because cane crops are already subject to a raft of regulations governing farm practices,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“Any new sugarcane planting would be subject to existing reef regulations so there’s no need to slap another layer of regulation, in the form of a new approval process, in the way of growers.”
From 1 June 2021, new or expanded commercial cropping along the Queensland coast from the Burnett Mary region to Cape York will require an environmental permit and meet ‘standard conditions’ under the State Government proposal.
“This is straight duplication of what is already an unwarranted level of regulation, because sugarcane growers already operate under regulations requiring minimum standards for farm practices,” Mr Galligan said.
“This new regime of requiring a permit to expand will just make it harder for growers and the industry to seize the opportunities offered by producing a renewable, sustainable feedstock for new bio-products and bio-fuels.”
CANEGROWERS will be making a submission before the February 17 deadline and will continue to advocate for growers and the future of the industry as this process continues.
“We have always opposed the heavy hand of regulating farming practices as a way of achieving water quality outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Galligan said.
“The best approach is always collaborative, voluntary engagement which we have through our industry best practice program Smartcane BMP which now involves 80% of Queensland's sugarcane farmland.
“This approach achieves productivity and export market outcomes as well as environmental ones.”