Stephen Calcagno is a fourth generation cane farmer,. Picture: Supplied.
Stephen Calcagno is a fourth generation cane farmer,. Picture: Supplied.

Farmers group slams new state cropping land regulations

A State Government move to impose a new bureaucratic process on farmers expanding their cropping area along the Queensland coast was unnecessary and duplicated existing regulation on the sugarcane industry, farmers lobby group CANEGROWERS says.

A State Government move to impose a new bureaucratic process on farmers expanding their cropping area along the Queensland coast was unnecessary and duplicated existing regulation on the sugarcane industry, farmers lobby group CANEGROWERS says.

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“Sugarcane growing should be exempt from these proposed new rules in Great Barrier Reef catchments because cane crops are already subject to a raft of regulations governing farm practices,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

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“Any new sugarcane planting would be subject to existing reef regulations so there’s no need to slap another layer of regulation, in the form of a new approval process, in the way of growers.”

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From 1 June 2021, new or expanded commercial cropping along the Queensland coast from the Burnett Mary region to Cape York will require an environmental permit and meet ‘standard conditions’.

Farmer Charles Quagliata with his son on their sugar cane farm in Queensland.
Photo: Glenn Hunt / The Australian
Farmer Charles Quagliata with his son on their sugar cane farm in Queensland. Photo: Glenn Hunt / The Australian

“This is straight duplication of what is already an unwarranted level of regulation, because sugarcane growers already operate under regulations requiring minimum standards for farm practices,” Mr Galligan said.

“This new regime of requiring a permit to expand will just make it harder for growers and the industry to seize the opportunities offered by producing a renewable, sustainable feedstock for new bio-products and bio-fuels.”

CANEGROWERS will be making a submission before the February 17 deadline and will continue to advocate for growers and the future of the industry as this process continues, Mr Galligan said.

“We have always opposed the heavy hand of regulating farming practices as a way of achieving water quality outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef.

“The best approach is always collaborative, voluntary engagement which we have through our industry best practice program Smartcane BMP which now involves 80% of Queensland‘s sugarcane farmland.

“This approach achieves productivity and export market outcomes as well as environmental ones.”

Gympie Times


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