Tasmanian and Victorian farmers call for fair land access rules

13 February 2024

The peak representative bodies for Tasmanian and Victorian farmers have joined forces to call for fair land access rules in the face of rapid renewable energy developments taking over prime agricultural land.

TasFarmers and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) today released the Farm Access Code of Conduct which is aimed at promoting respectful and sensible infrastructure development on agricultural land.

TasFarmers President Ian Sauer said the organisations were partnering in their advocacy efforts in response to the abysmal treatment of farming communities across the two states dealing with the construction of new transmission lines.

“This is a direct response to the lack of respect shown by those who want access to agricultural land across Australia towards farmers, their land and their livelihoods.”

“We want to see the Code of Conduct adopted by anyone, be they Government Business Enterprises or the private sector to ensure farmers’ rights are protected.”

VFF President Emma Germano said renewable energy and transmission projects needed to be properly planned.

“In many cases this land is highly productive, supporting and sustaining regional communities as well as being critical to our nation’s food security. This land is scarce and cannot be replaced.”

“Planning projects properly and consulting communities means there is less chance of having to use compulsory acquisition laws to ram projects through.”

Mr Sauer and Ms Germano have jointly written to federal energy minister Chris Bowen seeking a meeting to discuss options to adopt the Code’s principles into harmonised national and state-based laws.

“We are offering an open hand to government asking them to work with us and respect the people who grow our food so we can all deliver for the national interest.”

“Government must realise that if farmers and communities aren’t treated with respect, then they reserve their right to delay these projects whichever way they can. That will mean the government will have no chance of meeting their ambitious renewable energy targets,” Ms Germano said.

Mr Sauer concluded saying “It is important that farmers and regional communities take a united stand in the face of the development which is being forced onto them. It is unfair to expect regional Australia to bare all the cost for delivering energy to the cities.”

“Respect the rights of farmers and regional Australians and we will be happy to work together to achieve positive outcomes.”