New rules to help farmers

VICTORIAN farmers will benefit on several issues as the government unravels red tape stifling the state’s food and fibre production.

Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan this week announced the government would lift a raft of onerous regulations.

The biggest windfall, according to the Victorian Farmers Federation, would be more effective baiting for wild dogs.

But regulations will also be relaxed on controlling pest animals, clearing native vegetation, stock crossings on roads and running oversize vehicles over railway lines.

Federation president Peter Tuohey said the need for reforms was raised with Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd.

“It’s great to see Mr Ryan has decided to act on Mr Lloyd’s recommendations and unwind the red tape that either makes no sense or restricts our ability to feed the nation,” Mr Tuohey said.

The major win is the government’s commitment to allow the on-site injection of fresh meat baits for fox and wild dog control.

The present rules stipulate that baits must be manufactured at a fixed address.

“What we and the Red Tape Commissioner have been asking for are more flexible rules that allow operators to inject baits in mobile facilities,” Mr Tuohey said.

“On-site injection of fresh-meat baits with 1080 offers farmers big savings, given farmers can bring along their own fresh meat baits.

“It means more effective and efficient baiting and is regarded as best practice by the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group.

“In Western Australia, they’ve used on-site baiting to produce 5400 fresh baits using donated meat, which cost $120 for 1080 chemical and $460 for a contractor to undertake the injection.”

Mr Tuohey said it worked out at less than 11 cents per bait compared to manufactured baits retailing for about $2.

The federation has advocated using a much simpler process.

It hopes the Department of Environment and Primary Industries relaxes its demand for on-site inspections of wildlife with photographic proof being accepted.

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