$100,000 for green fight

30 Sep, 2004 07:00 PM
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WAFARMERS hopes to simplify the environmental protocols facing farmers with $100,000 in federal funding.

The lobby group was one of the beneficiaries of the latest round of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) spending.

WAFarmers farm business executive officer Ross Hardwick said the money would be used to assess EMS models in WA, involve stakeholders such as Natural Resource Management councils and evaluate opportunities and community attitudes towards EMS.

Mr Hardwick said the environmental regulatory system was over-complicated and confusing to farmers.

He said WAFarmers would work to develop a base EMS model that different agricultural sectors could apply to their specific needs.

Mr Hardwick said EMS compliance would provide a sustainable future for agriculture and improve its image in the community.

"In the short term it's about individual producers having better information for making better decisions," he said.

"If you can make the right decisions, then those decisions may allow you to be still producing productively off the same land in 10 years time."

He said in the long term, the advantage could be increased or continued international market access.

"We want to be prepared for our markets saying that unless you've got this in place, or are producing in this manner, we are not going to buy from you," he said.

He said farm quality assurance projects were considered an imposition in the past because they didn't have clearly defined benefits.

And environmental sustainability among farmers had been compromised by the negative impacts of biodiversity and native vegetation management regulations on their operations.

"But there lies the other aspect of this EMS system, if we've got the fundamentals in place it will allow farmers to better understand exactly what is the regulatory situation they are going to have to work in," he said.

"If we can see that a certain regulation is not going to work it gives us the opportunity to produce real data to see how we can change it."

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