PGA shut out of neighbour plan

26 Feb, 2004 07:00 PM
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WAFARMERS has refused a request by Conservation and Land Management executive director Kieran McNamara to involve the Pastoralists and Graziers Association in the development of the Good Neighbour Policy between WAFarmers and the agency.

The policy was an initiative of WAFarmers last year to address the issue of pests, weeds and fire control and improve relations between CALM officers and farmers.

WA Farmers president Colin Nicholl said government departments were good at setting farmer groups against each other and he was not prepared to let that happen.

"WAFarmers took the initiative and we will be developing a working paper with CALM, which will be a public document," he said.

"We can't afford the two farmer groups to be at odds while we are laying down the charter.

"If the PGA want to make submissions to the charter, then they can come to us or go direct to CALM.

"There will be a lot of tough negotiations ahead - CALM is mistaken if they think we will be eating out of their hand in five minutes."

Mr McNamara said CALM would prefer to involve the PGA and the WA Local Government Association.

"We are working toward an inclusive approach because as neighbours, we are dealing with individuals, regardless of their views on the two primary producer lobby groups," he said.

PGA spokesperson Geoff Gare said he had grave concerns that WAFarmers was being left alone to negotiate with CALM on behalf of landholders.

He questioned that organisation's track record on the issues of State Planning Policy 11 and the amendments to the Environment Protection Act which he said WAFarmers had publicly endorsed.

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