Reef regulations no great barrier for horticulture

Reef regulations no great barrier for horticulture


Agribusiness
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Growcom believes taxpayers' money should not be spent on regulation but instead be invested in Hort360.

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Farmers are among the very best amateur scientists. Their lives and livelihoods depend on being observant, conducting experiments and drawing conclusions.

For over a millennia, they've had to adapt to changing conditions to gradually breed the best plant and animal genetics.

They're also expert managers of risk who make measured decisions and take action every day based on less-than-perfect information.

But there can be tension in our sector, between standing behind the science and supporting the use of Glyphosate for example, while simultaneously questioning the science on climate change and impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

To be clear, Growcom agrees with the scientific community and state and federal governments that water quality and the health of the Reef is impacted by runoff from farms.

Where Growcom does depart from the Queensland government is on the topic of regulation. We do not believe regulation is an effective and cost efficient mechanism of improving runoff water quality in the horticulture industry.

Less than 1 per cent of the total Great Barrier Reef catchment area is used for horticultural production. For the risk we present, establishing regulations and minimum standards for each of the 120 horticultural commodities is simply not worth the effort.

Our view is taxpayers' money should not be spent on regulation but instead be invested in Hort360, our existing best practice management program for horticulture.

In this industry the best management practice train has left the station Already almost 60pc of our growers in Great Barrier Reef catchments are participating in Hort360. And while we give credit to government for getting the train going, now is not the time to be letting up.

Growcom, with the support of the horticulture industry, has made impressive ground growing participation numbers with very little support.

We are now seeking significant investment from the government to make Hort360 an even more attractive proposition for growers, including demonstrating more clearly the link between participation and increased profitability.

Farmers are amateur scientists after all. No one spends money to stop scientists from advancing. That's regulation and not how a field of study moves forward. You invest in research to solve real problems. That's what we're asking for.

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