Farmers hoping for tree change relief

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff
Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff

FARMERS hope a review of the "right to farm" legislation will lead to a drop in the increasing numbers of complaints from "tree changers" with unrealistic expectations of rural life.

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff yesterday released an issues paper on the review of the Primary Industries Protection Act.

The legislation - the only one of its type in Australia - was introduced in 1995 after more people began moving to semi-rural areas for "lifestyle" reasons prompted a flood of complaints about their farming neighbours such as excessive noise and tractor traffic.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said the problem had only got worse since then.

"More and more people are moving. The city's moving further out, it hits up against farm land all the time," Ms Davis said.

She said new neighbours complained about noise and visual impacts that go along with agricultural activities, from being unhappy about cows leaving dirt on the road as they crossed to another paddock or mooing too loudly in the night, to the use of floodlights to allow harvesting to continue after dark in busy periods.

The review will consider whether land owners should have to declare any neighbouring agricultural activities when selling their property in a bid to reduce land use clashes.

In Victoria, vendors are required to advise of any noises or smells affecting the relevant property, in a checklist available to potential purchasers.

Mr Rockliff has vowed to act if necessary to strengthen farmers rights.

"This review will examine the effectiveness of the Act in ensuring primary producers are able to undertake their everyday business and manage their farming operations without unreasonable interference," Mr Rockliff said.

Ms Davis said the review was just one part of an overall reduction in red and green tape required by the industry.

Submissions on the issues paper close August 4.


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