Land clearing case welcome sign

WAFarmers welcomes news a South West farmer was found not guilty of illegally clearing his land under illogical State environmental laws.

Earlier this week, Lake Muir farmer Peter Swift was cleared of any wrongdoing in a Bunbury court. He had been charged with illegally clearing an Environmentally-Sensitive Area under the Environmental Protection Act.

WAFarmers has been campaigning for changes to the land clearing laws and the removal of criminal penalties for a number of years, President Dale Park said.

“That farmers can face fines for grazing, burning off or other standard practices on their land indicates a lack of understanding of agricultural processes by the then Department of Conservation,” Mr Park said.

“We continue to call on the State government, as we have for a number of years, to work with stakeholders to ensure farmers can clear their land within accepted agricultural practices.”

Mr Park said the decision of the Bunbury court was an encouraging sign.

“Progress on this issue has been painstakingly slow, but we hope the result of this case will give the Department of Environment Regulation something to reflect on as we continue to engage on implementing reform,” Mr Park said.

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