The Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) wants reform to the State’s land clearing laws to allow farmers to better manage their land as part of a long term plan for the State’s agricultural industries.
As part of the WAFarmers 2013 State Election Key Issues, WAFarmers seeks legislative change that allows farmers to:
- Clear their land within accepted agricultural practices;
- Establish offset land parcels to enable land clearing; and
- Obtain financial compensation where restriction has been placed on future land clearing.
WAFarmers also seeks the removal of criminal penalties for breaches of the land clearing under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
WAFarmers will pursue changes to State and Local Government legislation which will provide for the title change and subdivision of farmland, when that land is sought to be sold or purchased to preserve and maintain existing stands of native vegetation.
WAFarmers President, Dale Park, said land clearing was a major issue for WAFarmers as a number of members have had ongoing battles with the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
“Western Australia’s land clearing laws remain under review, a process which began with the previous government, however the current government has not progressed with legislative change,” Mr Park said.
“In the absence of any real reform in this area, Western Australian farmers continue to have land clearing restrictions placed upon them.
“WAFarmers believes that the State Government should work with stakeholders to develop an understanding of the native vegetation which exist on-farm, and the potential for these to be included in future offsets.
“The development of a register would facilitate a link between those looking for offset opportunities and enable an immediate pool of potential offsets to be identified, providing protection of these key natural assets and additionally, through the transfer of ownership, a source of funding for farm businesses,” Mr Park concluded.