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The Hon.

Robert Brown MLC


Parliament of New South Wales
Legislative Council
Shooters and Fishers Party

MEDIA RELEASE
2 March 2016

"Environment Zones" are Robbing Farmers of their Right to Farm


NSW MLC Robert Brown fired the first salvo at the Nationals since the Shooters and Fishers Party announced
their party's name would be changing to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
He hit back at the joint announcement by Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Nationals MP Thomas George
that environment zones (or E-Zones) are to being finalised for five Councils in the Far North Coast.
"Farmers have an inalienable right to farm their own land, and this policy seeks to take that right away," Mr
Brown said.
"These so-called 'environment zoning ' changes are effectively a land-grab from farmers and private
landowners. What will actually happen with these is that Councils will be able to arbitrarily change the zoning
of a farmer's land and prevent them from engag ing in standard farming practices.
"Farmers subject to these zones will be forced to spend their own money on removing weeds and protecting
the land, all the while they are unable to make money from it through farming.
"All this happens while Council benefits financially from biodiversity credits. Councils will get all the benefits
but incur none of the costs and none of the responsibility.
"The maps used for environmental zoning are grossly inaccurate, because they're automatically drawn by
computers. Therefore, these maps often mistake shadows for vegetation and can place boundaries for single
trees. This was highlighted in a study by John Hunter, from the University of New England, of which I have
made Minister Stokes aware, " he said.
Mr Hunter's full report is available at http://doi.org/10 .1111/emr.12195
"Paul Green, from the Christian Democratic Party, and I have recently spoken with Minister Stokes and his
colleague Mark Speakman, the Environment Minister, about this matter directly. We presented them with
evidence of gross devaluation of farm property following e-zoning, in one case with greater than 50% loss of
value. Unfortunately, advocacy has fallen on deaf ears.
I know that the Christian Democrats are as concerned as we are about the impact this policy will have on rural
output, jobs, and property rights. We both fear the prospect of this being rolled-out across the state, and the
prospects for the upcoming Native Vegetation Bill."
Mr Brown added that this highlighted how out-of-touch Thomas George and the Nationals have become
because of their Coalition with the Liberal Party.
"This environmental zoning plan shows that the Government have no idea about living on the land.
'The Nationals have forgotten their core constituents in the search for the spoils of Government. That's why
we're changing our party's name to the 'Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party', " he said.
MEDIA CONTACT:

Robert Brown MLC

02 9230 2573

Parliament House

Phone: 02 9230 3059 Fax: 02 9230 2613

Macquarie St SYDNEY NSW 2000

email: robert.brown@ parliament.nsw.gov.au