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Labor hits farmers with a new $8M slug for AgVet chemicals

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Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security

John Cobb

Labor hits farmers with a new $8M slug for AgVet chemicals


“Farmers are already strangled by red tape and input costs are soaring on all fronts, yet the Gillard Government is about to make life even harder,” Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security John Cobb revealed today.

“New regulations ignoring industry concerns will add $8 million to the annual cost of chemical registration - a hike of 33%.

“Research by Deloitte Access Economics shows that not only will the $8 million slug be an extra cost to farmers, there will also be an added burden of red tape which will see Australia’s GDP plummet by $21 million.

“The Australian AgVet chemical market is about 10% of the size of the US market but the cost spent by industry on registering and re-registering chemicals will be about the same as the US. “In addition to the problems farmers already face - like spiralling costs from the carbon tax, the high dollar and falling commodity prices - before they can even eke out a living from producing the food and fibre we all rely on, here comes Julia Gillard to whack them again.

“It proves you just can’t trust this mob, and this latest cost to industry comes despite Finance and Deregulation Minister Penny Wong vowing that AgVet chemical reform was a key area where the government would reduce regulatory compliance costs for businesses and improve competitiveness]i[.

“Another lie? In any event, it’s another broken promise and it’s no wonder farmers feel betrayed by Labor. Every time they get out of bed Labor is finding new ways to tax them and drive up their costs,” said Mr Cobb.

“Off the back of falling productivity and waning competitiveness, now Australia is lagging behind our major competitors because farmers cannot access new, safer protectants, like the example of a sheep drench developed by Australians for Australian conditions. Our sheep farmers have been waiting approval to use it for two years… it’s been on the market and in use in New Zealand all that time.

“Reforms were supposed to reduce cumbersome assessment and registration processes, be more cost-efficient for farmers and provide industry with timely access to the best and safest crop and animal protectants.

“Instead, the new legislation will entrench yet another layer of red tape through an automatic 7-15 year review process.

“It means AgVet chemical companies cannot recover the costs of extensive re-registration processes and many cheaper, safer chemicals will simply be unavailable to Australian farmers.

“The Gillard government has ignored farmer and farm businesses, making a mockery of the consultation process. Instead it has made a decree from on-high to a Green agenda without any scientific basis for it.

“Like locking up fisheries in marine parks and denying approved trawler operations the right to fish. Like the carbon tax that imposes massive costs for no environmental gain. Here we go

again with Labor and the Greens pursuing a pointless agenda that will cost our industries and drive demand to our competitors.

“There is certainly room for improvement in the performance of chemical regulation and the Coalition supports sensible reform which will cut red tape and improve industry efficiency,” Mr Cobb said.