Farmers say tearing up conservation laws as they stand will not help the situation they are in || Opinion

NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has vowed to "completely re-write" native vegetation laws and "stop land clearing".
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has vowed to "completely re-write" native vegetation laws and "stop land clearing".

In response to: ‘Blair says Foley's farm policy an attack on property rights’ (Friday, November 2).

It was good to see NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley recognise last week that reform of native vegetation laws is needed.

However, while he says we need to “completely rewrite the [biodiversity and conservation] laws to stop land clearing,” up here in Northern NSW we know the solution is not to impose more restrictions on managing our land.

Farming families are being hit hard at the moment. As if the drought wasn’t bad enough, our land is being locked up and we’re being hit with crippling costs from the massive increase in compliance proceedings in Northern NSW under these laws. Something’s clearly not working.

We recognise the importance of balancing conservation and land management outcomes, but the unintended consequences of these laws and the one-size-fits-all approach means that balance has been thrown out.

The ability to manage our land and ensure it remains productive and ecologically balanced has been stripped away.

We know this is a complex issue and we’re keen to work together with others to reach a solution.

We’re just asking for a fair go to manage our land, grow crops, provide for our families and contribute to our local communities.

Locking up all land – the land that farmers around Australia are entrusted to manage – will mean that economically vital primary production areas such as Moree and Walgett will become woody, weedy wastelands where no farming production can take place.

This will also hurt the environment, leading to the further spread of invasive native species and pests that will damage native vegetation and animal habitats. This is not the answer.

‘Stopping land clearing’ outright would lead to disastrous outcomes for our ecosystem and our ability to produce food for this country.

We’d welcome a visit from Mr Foley to the state’s north west before the election, to see first-hand the benefits and possibilities of responsible land management.

Mr Foley should understand that further reducing the already diminished property rights of farming families is not an appropriate policy platform.

Northern NSW Farming Alliance (NNAA), is a local movement in Northern NSW that has “come together to stand up for a fair go for Australian farmers”.