News

Idea is ‘good first step’

By Country News

The NSW Farmers Association has welcomed a proposal to establish an agriculture commissioner who will fight on behalf of farmers on the diverse range of issues and challenges they face.

NSW Farmers’ president James Jackson said the independent agriculture commissioner, proposed by The Nationals, was a step in the right direction but more needed to be done to tackle ‘right to farm’ issues.

‘‘The introduction of an agriculture commissioner is a good first step for the sustainability of the agriculture sector, particularly in areas such as planning, environment, transport and infrastructure, and resources and energy,’’ he said.

Mr Jackson said efforts to tackle the challenges associated with the degradation of the right to farm, regional and peri-urban planning that punished farmers, and most importantly, farm trespass, were to be applauded.

‘‘If right to farm was legislated in the Regional Planning Act, agriculture’s place in the economy and the community would forever be protected against inappropriate restrictions and caveats.’’

NSW Farmers is also calling for more action around illegal surveillance and trespass.

‘‘Activists should realise that a farm is also a home, and this adversely affects farmers and their families,’’ Mr Jackson said.

NSW Farmers also welcomed the proposed broad remit of the commissioner to tackle any priority issue within the agricultural sector, including ensuring fair commercial dealings for dairy farmers.

‘‘We look forward to working with government to get a better deal for dairy farmers through the establishment of a mandatory code of conduct for dairy,’’ Mr Jackson said.

‘‘We will also actively push for a review into the role of supermarkets in pushing dairy farmers and horticulturalists to the financial edge.’’