28 March 2017. Source: Productivity Commission

This report was sent to Government on 15 November 2016 and publicly released on 28 March 2017.

The report is about regulation that affects farm businesses.

Key points:

  • Farm businesses are subject to a vast and complex array of regulations…The number and complexity of regulations affecting farm  businesses means that the cumulative burden of regulation on farmers is substantial.
  • The need for regulation is not disputed by farm businesses… Rather, Australian farmers want ‘better’ (or less burdensome) regulation.
  • Some regulations lack a sound policy justification and should be removed. Examples include restrictions on the use of land held under pastoral lease arrangements, state bans on cultivating genetically modified crops, barriers to entry for foreign shipping providers, mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods…
  • In other cases, regulation is the wrong policy tool. Regulatory changes to address community concerns about foreign investment in agriculture, for example, are costly and  likely to be ineffective. A better informed conversation about foreign investment is needed.
  • Other regulations and regulatory systems need to be reformed so they can more fully achieve their objectives…
  • Inconsistent regulatory requirements across and within jurisdictions make it difficult for farmers to understand their obligations and add to the cost of doing business…
  • Governments could also reduce the regulatory burden on farm businesses by:
    • improving their consultation and engagement practices…
    • doing more to coordinate their actions, both between agencies and between governments
    • ensuring that good regulatory impact assessment processes are used as an analytical tool to support quality regulation making, not as a legitimising tool or compliance exercise.