Involve ag professionals more in industry regulation says Australian association

Agricultural professionals should be more widely consulted on controlling red tape in the industry, according to Ag Institute Australia (AIA).

The call comes ahead of the final report from the Productivity Commission on Agricultural Regulation, which is expected in November 2016.

As the nation’s peak body representing agricultural professionals, AIA pushed for greater involvement of consultants in its response to the Productivity Commission’s draft report.

The draft report primarily considered how the impact of regulation on farm businesses could be reduced, with the overall aim of increasing productivity in the sector.

With the report finding farm businesses deal with regulatory burden through the whole supply chain, AIA Chair Andrew Bishop says red tape is having a large impact on the agricultural industry.

“While we agree with the Productivity Commission that regulation is an important part of a successful industry, it’s crucial that this regulation is developed and applied appropriately.

“Agricultural regulation is an important issue for AIA and our members, with our Special Interest Group (SIG) focused on developing regulatory policy around Biosecurity and Biotechnology,” he explains.

AIA recommendations to the Productivity Commission included:

  • When developing or reviewing regulation, a risk-based approach should be adopted based on scientifically valid information.
  • Agricultural professionals should be used for objective scientific information when planning land use and access legislation
  • More cost competitive processes are needed for minor use registrations of agricultural chemicals.
  • There should be a high priority on education of, communication to, and engagement with farmers and land users on relevant legislation, including farm trespass and biosecurity.

Mr Bishop says it’s critical that agricultural professionals are utilised more in the regulation of agriculture.

“There is a significant base of skills and knowledge in the agricultural consulting sector, which should be leveraged more effectively in regulating our industry.

“By reducing red tape and making regulation more efficient, we can make real advances in productivity and profitability for the whole sector,” he says.

Mr Bishop is available to discuss the impact of red tape on the agricultural sector and how AIA’s SIG believes that burden may be reduced.
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