THE Australian pork industry now has a nationally coordinated approach to environmental management following the launch of the National Environmental Guideline for Piggeries, according to Australian Pork Limited (APL).
APL Research and Innovation general manager Ian Johnsson said the launch marked the culmination of an 18-month developmental process based on exhaustive consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
"APL has been working constructively with regulators for some time to streamline the application of environmental regulations and the environmental performance of piggeries," Dr Johnsson said.
"The new guidelines provide a platform for responsible environmental management of piggeries across the country.
"Part of the difficulty we have had in the past in achieving consistency in environmental practices has been due to the considerable variation existing between different state-based regulatory regimes and their interpretation of regulatory requirements."
Dr Johnsson said the guidelines would continue to be developed and updated to have relevance well into the future.
"Throughout 2004 and 2005, APL will be engaging in a number of new initiatives to promote the widespread adoption of the new guidelines by producers and state and local government regulators," he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Judith Troeth said although the pork industry was more efficient and internationally competitive than it was in the late 1990's, it still faced ongoing challenges due to the combined effects of drought, the strength of the Australian dollar and higher imports.
She said a continued commitment to innovative research and development and marketing would help ensure the pork industry's long-term competitiveness and growth.
"Innovation is a key factor in ensuring future industry viability," Senator Troeth said.
"These national guidelines deliver, for the first time, a nationally agreed approach to the management of pig production in Australia to achieve environmental goals.
"The pork industry has recognised the need for effective management of natural resources and these guidelines help producers take all measures possible to minimise adverse environmental impacts from their piggeries."