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Environmental management core business for farmers.

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Home | Media Releases DAFF05/051C - 18 October 2005

Environmental management core business for farmers

Environmental management systems (EMS) will gain even more widespread acceptance and adoption if they are closely tailored to suit the varying needs of farmers and rural businesses, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Richard Colbeck said today.

Senator Colbeck told the 4th National EMS Conference in Beechworth, Victoria, that despite their different needs, more farmers and rural industries could improve their environmental credentials and overall business management by adopting approaches such as EMS.

He said the Australian Government had provided $11.7 million so far under its Pathways to Industry EMS Program to 19 industry and farmer organisations to help develop their approaches to EMS and environmental assurance.

"In addition, the $8.5 million EMS National Pilot Program is supporting 16 projects to develop EMS as an innovative tool for Australian primary producers, with considerable success," Senator Colbeck said. "So far, nearly 1,500 landholders have been involved in the program.

"We will use the information about EMS from the Pilot and Pathways programs in the future development of natural resource management and sustainable agriculture policies."

Senator Colbeck said rural industries generally were now well aware of the many benefits of implementing an EMS.

"Some businesses and industries are ready to implement a complete and auditable EMS," he said. "Others are taking 'important steps' to introduce EMS to their producers.

"The drivers are going to be different for different businesses and industries, and even different locations. We need to consider how to maintain a consistent approach and, at the same time, accommodate diversity because of different industry and landholder requirements."

He said some businesses and industries would be more attracted to an approach that sought to reduce regulatory and planning pressures. Others would focus on market demands.

Senator Colbeck said industry, landholders, regions and government had critical roles to play in developing effective links between farm-scale action, and regional and catchment scale results.

"There needs to be a strong culture of communication between farmers and regional bodies on the understanding of local and regional natural resources and the establishment and achievement of environmental targets,'' he said.

Further media inquiries:

Senator Colbeck's office: Aaron Oldaker 03 6424 5960 or 0408 826 330

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