Today the Turnbull Government has released the terms of reference for the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into regulation of the Australian agricultural sector, with the inquiry to commence immediately.
Regulation has important objectives including protecting consumers from unsafe food, protecting the environment and supporting the export of goods. However poorly implemented and administered regulation and the cumulative impact of regulation can have adverse effects on farm businesses.
The inquiry will focus on regulation with a material impact on domestic and international competitiveness of farm businesses and the productivity of Australian agriculture. It will define priority areas for removing or reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens where doing so contributes to improved productivity for farm businesses as well as the wider economy. It will also take into account regulation in key supply chains.
The Productivity Commission will consult broadly with government and non-government stakeholders in developing its recommendations, and will examine submissions made to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and other relevant material in the public domain.
The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper was a key Coalition election commitment to the farm sector, and the Productivity Commission inquiry is a much anticipated initiative of the white paper.
The Productivity Commission is due to report within nine months.
Public consultation will be undertaken as part of the inquiry, with information available on the Productivity Commission website http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/agriculture.
The inquiry’s terms of reference are attached.