Weeding out the red tape

The idea of getting whacked for helping somebody through a tough time is simply ludicrous

ONE man's weed may be another man's feed, but more importantly, one man's weeds crackdown is another man's bureaucratic nightmare.

The draft version of the NSW Natural Resources Commission's Weeds - Time to get serious contains some positive direction.

But it doesn't come without some burrs under the saddle.

One issue, sadly, is timing.

The recent restructure in Local Land Services (LLS) has left many confused about the roles of former NSW Department of Primary Industries agencies and many more (as demonstrated in the lack of voting in the LLS regional elections) nonchalant.

We might not go as far as to blame the bureaucrats for "flying the paper aeroplanes under the radar", and in the defence of the Natural Resources Commission, there were ample press releases and public meetings throughout the process.

But with the disarray - not to mention the drought - it's unsurprising the fodder industry was caught flat-footed and didn't pen a response in time.

It's difficult to see how fodder regulations demanding NSW growers need a licence to sell, would work.

Aside from the problem of who would police these changes and how, the proposed regulations present a far more unsavoury situation.

It would not be a rare thing for a farmer to transport feed from one land parcel to another, or, help out a mate by selling or giving some pasture hay to help with his stock.

And while the idea of increasing regulation which appears impossible to enforce is irritating and distasteful, the idea of getting whacked for helping somebody through a tough time is simply ludicrous.

Just try making somebody wait even a day to try to sell or donate to farmers in need.

Surely exceptional circumstances have to be considered where a bit of khaki weed might be less of a concern than watching stock die.

We welcome the suggestion farmers selling fodder in their region may be able to sell fodder with certain weeds within that region with LLS approval.

But the proposed changes do nothing to target real issues, like interstate weeds coming from Queensland and Victoria.

The thrust of this review is positive and hopefully it will present a more united force in combating an expensive pest.

But while it's shored up government departments, it's ignored the rest of Australia as well as other high risk weed dissemination industries.

TheLand
Jenna Cairney

Jenna Cairney

is deputy editor of The Land
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Chick Olsson
25/05/2014 5:50:28 AM

Great article Jenna. These people just love to make it harder for farmers, impose their small minds on a community who have no real voice nor protection from those who are supposed to represent us.
A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.

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