Media Release

Cutting red tape for farmers and agribusiness

1 November 2013

A new report, released today, gives the agricultural sector an insight into the red tape burden it operates under as well as areas that are ripe for reform.

An Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report, Review of Selected Regulatory Burdens on Agriculture and Forestry Businesses, found that for about a quarter of the regulations it looked at, Australian Government action could reduce the regulatory burden.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the report, saying it provided governments with solid research on which to base sensible proposals for reducing regulatory burden.

“While some degree of regulation is often necessary, we know that excessive regulatory burden stifles productivity and economic returns to our farmers, but some degree of regulation is necessary,” Minister Joyce said.

“My aim is for reductions in costs of red tape to help increase returns at the farmgate.

“This government pledged to reduce red and green tape costs on business by $1 billion a year.

“To do that we’ve already indicated we’ll be looking at areas that have been identified in this report for action – such as livestock export reform and cutting red tape for agricultural chemicals.

“I will be asking my department to consider the findings of this report as part of the current regulation reviews and I encourage my federal, state and territory colleagues to do the same with their departments – as some of the findings will require cross-government collaboration.”

In total, 32 specific regulatory issues that stakeholders raised in submissions to the Productivity Commission’s 2007 review regarding agriculture and forestry were assessed, including live animal exports, horticulture, crops, food and employment.

“One of my biggest priorities is cutting red tape for our farmers to let them get on with producing food and fibre for Australia and the world,” Minister Joyce said.

The ABARES report found that for 20 of the 32 regulations investigated, further action by the Australian Government to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens was unlikely to significantly improve the performance of rural businesses.

The Review of Selected Regulatory Burdens on Agriculture and Forestry Businesses report is available on the department’s website at www.daff.gov.au/abares/publications