Call to Action: Tasmanian GBEs urged to commit to the ‘Farm Access Code’

10 May 2024

Farmland in Australia is increasingly under pressure from a multitude of external interests vying to negotiate access and usage rights. The demand for renewable energy, carbon capture initiatives, wind farms, irrigation projects, hydrogen production, and interest from the mining industry is relentless, often resulting in negotiations or, at times, demands for land access.

TasFarmers has previously addressed this issue and remains steadfast in advocating for the rights of farmers amidst these competing interests. Achieving a balance requires a collaborative effort to ensure positive outcomes. It's crucial that project proponents and developers engage in transparent communication and meaningful consultation with communities to mitigate the need for compulsory land acquisition laws to push projects forward.

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Unfortunately, disagreements often escalate into legal battles, with farmers' concerns being overlooked and compensation negotiations proving challenging. As a result, matters often end up being settled by courts to determine outcomes and compensation. Seeking independent legal advice is essential when negotiating land access agreements to ensure fair and equitable terms.

Without adequate safeguards, commercial agreements may heavily favour proponents, resembling long-term commitments akin to marriage, with access granted for extended periods, sometimes spanning decades. Farmers need to safeguard their businesses by managing the risks that land access may pose including biosecurity, food production standards, and on-farm safety.

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In collaboration with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), TasFarmers has introduced the Farm Access Code to promote respectful and sensible access to agricultural land. This nation leading initiative addresses the historical lack of respect shown by those seeking access to farmland across Australia.

TasFarmers urges all Tasmanian Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) to adopt the code and actively engage by becoming signatories. This presents a genuine opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the Tasmanian agricultural community and foster collaborative relationships within the sector.

Furthermore, private companies are encouraged to support landowners and farmers by endorsing the code and becoming signatories. A bipartisan approach ensures that the code aligns with expectations of fairness, equity, and responsible conduct, which should complement corporate social responsibility efforts rather than contradict them.

We provide a united voice

As the leading advocacy group in Tasmania and the only one that focuses exclusively on farming and the rural sector, the future of Tasmanian agriculture is our focus.

Join TasFarmers today for a greater future.

Contact our Membership Engagement Officer, Jacqueline Shipton