The Andrews Labor Government needs to step back from its plans to classify animal manure as industrial waste according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien.
Reports this week indicate that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) intends to classify animal manure such as cow, chicken and sheep manure as industrial waste potentially adding a significant red tape burden on local farmers.
“The EPA has confirmed these reports are true and that it intends to tighten the rules on the use of animal manure both on and off farms. It is inconceivable that manure would be considered an industrial waste and the Andrews Government needs to step away from this now.
“While we all need to ensure we protect the environment, neither the Government nor the EPA have provided any evidence of the need for such a ruling or a demonstrated risk that would require a change.”
Mr O’Brien said the proposed rules would require new paperwork for farmers for the use, transport and storage of more than 20 cubic metres of manure which could impact on a variety of Gippsland farming industries.
“I just can’t understand what the risk is that the EPA is trying to address and why farmers need to be loaded up with more red tape like this.
“It’s already hard enough for our farmers and business people to operate with the amount of red and green tape they have to contend with, and this latest move is not justified.
“The Andrews Labor Government has overseen a dramatic increase in our public service and this bureaucratic overreach is one of the consequences of having too many bureaucrats looking for things to do.
“New Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas should intervene and ensure a sensible outcome that doesn’t penalise farmers for using manure as fertiliser or selling it as a useful by-product.”
“I call on the Andrews Government to act now to fix this situation.”