Protect our farmers' rights to produce food and fibre

Opinion: Protect our farmers' rights to produce food and fibre


Opinion
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NSW Farmers is calling for the new government to take a three-step approach to deliver its Right to Farm objectives.

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Farmers in NSW produce more than $17 billion annually in food and fibre, feeding millions of people at home and overseas. However, our farmers' right to farm is under constant threat and must be protected.

The state government committed to legislate Right to Farm, tackling farm trespass and creating an Agricultural Commissioner - all issues championed by NSW Farmers.

Right to Farm is not solely a legislative issue - it is about a culture of support, protection and championing the work of our farmers and our regional communities.

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From stewardship of our natural environment through to innovative on-farm practices, farmers need to know there are protections in place so they continue to deliver high quality food and fibre and contribute economic value.

Too often, however, our farmers are hampered by red and green tape, which prevents them growing food and fibre sustainably and threatens their business viability.

NSW Farmers is calling for the new government to take a three-step approach to deliver its Right to Farm objectives.

First we require certainty through enhanced farm trespass penalties. Trespass, electronic surveillance and stock theft threaten farmers' lawful farming operations. By undermining the security and safety of farming families, activists are a significant risk to agriculture and their criminal actions must be met with sanctions and enforceable penalties.

A legislated Right to Farm is step two. As legislation does not solve everything, a legislated Right to Farm must be coupled with the adoption of a farmer-friendly culture across all government agencies so farmer's rights are protected.

Finally, the Agricultural Commissioner must have the authority to work across government to ensure the rights of our farmers are upheld, be it in competition policy, environmental stewardship or planning matters.

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