Taskforce tackles property rights

28 Nov, 2001 10:00 PM
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AUSTRALIA'S farming heavy weights have agreed forming a taskforce was the most effective way to tackle the newly re-elected Coalition government over property rights.

Headlining talks at the National Farmers Federation headquarters in Canberra recently, state and national delegates resolved to make a formal submission to relevant agriculture ministers at next year's Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting in March.

WAFarmers president Colin Nicholl said a taskforce was viewed as the best way for farmers to clearly state their case and achieve the desired outcome.

He said the first step was to define which sections of land clearing, biodiversity, and planning Acts infringed on farmers rights to land and water resources.

Consisting of about five members, the taskforce would lead efforts to ensure the Coalition government honoured compensation promises where farmers experienced a loss of income or drop in property value, Mr Nicholl said.

PGA president Barry Court said it would not be acceptable for governments to implement levies to manage the cost of compensating farmers.

While some feared a stronger Green voice in the Senate posed a threat progress already made by farming groups, the outlook remain positive with Labor also committing to compensation prior to the federal election, Mr Nicholl said.

Moves will also be made to implement the use of "buffer zones" in newly developed residential areas to limit complaints about noise or use of chemicals associated with farming practices.

Mr Court said until the ministerial reshuffle was complete NFF actions were limited, however they planned continue to apply pressure as they had done before the election.

He said all members present at the meeting were unanimous that NFF's pre-election campaign was the best on record, despite some issues taking a back seat to international issues.

Other priority issues for NFF include plans to push for an increase in the current 100pc tax rebate on conservation work undertaken by farmers to be increased to 150pc, as an incentive-based conservation scheme.

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