14 Dec 2017

Farming Alongside The Great Barrier Reef Has A Strong Future

Queensland farmers continue to embrace industry-led Best Management Practice (BMP) programs, demonstrating their commitment to improved land management practices that reduce agriculture’s impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage, CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri and AgForce General President Grant Maudsley, urged all political parties to support farmers within the Reef catchments with long-term funding for voluntary BMP programs.

“Over the last eight years, these voluntary programs have supported farmers to gain a more complete understanding of their businesses and implement improvements”, Mr Armitage said.

“In the past four years alone (2013-17), over 7,500 Queensland farmers have engaged with their industry-led BMP programs. 2,600 reef catchment farmers have been benchmarked against industry standards and are working towards improving their land management practices.”

“Our sector has been and continues to be built on the triple bottom line. Farmers engaged in industry-led BMP programs own their impact on their local area and the Reef, improve their environmental performance, leading to greater farm profitability.”

The three farm leaders also urged the next state government not to introduce increased regulation in the Reef catchments.

“QFF does not support increasing regulation to existing or new agricultural industries as it will not deliver the intended cultural change needed. Regulation should be a last resort not a first response”, Mr Armitage said.

“Regulation is a blunt instrument that supports minimum standards of compliance at the expense of true practice change, and it does little to encourage a culture of innovation and excellence.”

This election, QFF is advocating for the following sensible and practical actions to realise our vision for a vibrant and thriving agricultural sector providing food, fibre and amenity to all Queenslanders:

  • Commit to long term investment at or above current levels in voluntary industry-led BMP programs.
  • Adopt a long term strategic funding model commensurate with water quality targets.
  • Do not introduce increased regulation in the Reef catchments.
  • Expand the sources of information that informs the Reef Report Card.

The full QFF Policy Platform and its Summary are available online: https://www.qff.org.au/queensland-election/.

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