January 16, 2013
The Victorian Farmers Federation hopes the Victorian red tape commissioner will boost business productivity for farmers across the state. Treasurer Kim Wells yesterday announced new commissioner John Lloyd has been charged with cutting red tape by 25 per cent, which could save the Victorian economy half a billion dollars in annual benefits. VFF president Peter Tuohey said that red tape can have a noticeable impact on farmers’ productivity. “Red tape cuts into the time farmers can devote to their farming operations and also adds high fees and charges to business activities,” Mr Tuohey said. Mr Tuohey said the current native vegetation rules are an example of how red tape can affect productivity. “The retention of isolated and dying paddock trees is part of the inflexible native vegetation rules which prevent increased productivity for grain producers and gets in the way of more efficient irrigation systems,” Mr Tuohey said. VFF Land Management Committee chair Gerald Leach said the cost and time commitment associated with retaining paddock trees in cropping areas is massive. “VFF members conducted an experiment in the Wimmera which demonstrated that having to circle isolated paddock trees can easily triple the amount of time it takes to spray a field of crops,” Mr Leach said. “When you are dealing with something as condition sensitive as spraying, every minute counts, but when you have to deal with paddock trees it severely limits the ground you can cover.” Mr Tuohey said that while the State Government has reviewed its regulation of native vegetation clearing, we are yet to see whether the proposed changes will have any tangible benefit for farmers. “If this government is serious about cutting red tape and increasing productivity, the religious retention of dying paddock trees and ridiculous offsetting requirements have got to stop,” Mr Tuohey said. The VFF expects the “priority list of high impact actions” to be drawn up by Mr Lloyd will include an assessment of regulations around movement of stock on roads and native animal pest control. The VFF is also calling for the governments “zoning reform” to include less permit requirements for agricultural producers. “We want to see the removal of permit requirements for standard agricultural practices, such as broiler farms, cattle feedlots, cool stores and packing sheds,” Mr Leach said.