New agency must know lie of the land

WE have been fielding many calls from our members who are feeling uncertain about the new Local Land Services agency announced by the NSW government.

The new agency will replace the Livestock Health and Pest Authority, the Catchment Management Authority and the advisory services of the Department of Primary Industries.

I am actually representing farmers in NSW on the reference panel and I have been assured the panel, which will make decisions on the new delivery structure, will not just be a rubber stamp.  My involvement to date has given me confidence there will be a proper process through which our members will be heard.

As reported, a number of advisory service positions will be transferred to the new agency and we have been advised these positions will continue to be funded by government.  It is our view that farmers must benefit from this strategic review of services.

I want to assure members that if it turns out the new agency is just a way to slug ratepayers with the cost of service delivery or the panel is a dressed-up rubber stamp, the government will hear from us, every farmer and every agriculture body across this state.

Extension officers are at the front line of service provision to our farmers and we must ensure any new model delivers better and more effective services to them both during and after the transition period to the new agency. 

 Fiona Simson, 

President, NSW Farmers

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