Welcome debate on problematic farm regulations

Welcome debate on problematic farm regulations
February 23 2022

CANEGROWERS has welcomed the opportunity for the significant issues and concerns that surround the reef regulations imposed on farmers to be aired in the Queensland Parliament.

“Through a bill introduced by Nick Dametto MP, the Queensland Government’s bureaucratic treatment of the state’s sugarcane growers has been put in the spotlight,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.

“The Katter’s Australian Party bill seeks to undo the 2019 ramp-up of reef regulations including a dangerous government power to change requirements on farmers at the drop of the hat, and the need for mining-style approvals for bringing new cane land into production.

“We welcome an additional move by the Liberal National Party to amend the reef regulations to exclude growers accredited under our industry best practice program Smartcane BMP, acknowledging the importance and value of such programs.”

On their current trajectory, reef regulations pose a massive cost risk to the Australian sugar industry, regional communities and the economy. CANEGROWERS calculations have put that cost at up to $1.3 billion over ten years to the Queensland economy through a misguided push to cut nitrogen use on the crop.  (Read the report)

“Sugarcane farmers do not shy away from the need to be environmentally responsible and the involvement of 80% of the cane area in the voluntary Smartcane BMP program is evidence of that commitment,” Mr Schembri said.

“CANEGROWERS has opposed the regulation of day-to-day farming activities since it started in 2010 and has continually lobbied against the inaccurate assumptions and modelling on which the regulations are based.

“We have done this while also supporting and encouraging innovation and change in the industry as growers strive to remain profitable while doing all they reasonably can to secure the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“We stand by the fact that industry-driven programs, such as Smartcane BMP, which work with growers are the pathway to continual improvement – not the big stick of government red tape.”