ACCORDING to Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson, the move to a new model that delivers a raft of new traditional farmer or agricultural services for those of us on the land – and in regional areas – is all about a formation of the Local Land Services model that is a practical way forward.
From next January Local Land Services will deliver functions currently provided by Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs), Livestock Health and Pest Authorities and some of the agriculture advisory services of Agriculture NSW, part of the Department of Primary Industries.
Twenty-one public meetings are being held around the state with recommendations set to go before the minister by the end of April.
At the Moree meeting yesterday there was concern about the make-up of the boards and the area boundaries under the new model.
The minister told us later it was the model that was changing, not the service delivery.
And Ms Hodgkinson said of the meetings held so far, farmer sentiment was mostly about board make-up, boundaries and rates.
That’s why, she contended, there has been this extensive community consultation.
So far, so good, but while they might listen, it is critical that they hear us.
After a southern meeting, the mayor of the Cooma-Monaro Shire, Dean Lynch, told media outlets that one proposal to make people with more than two hectares pay service fees posed a danger that small operators would have a louder and bigger voice.
The level of detail, or the lack of it initially, is also an issue.
Glen Innes hosted a meeting later yesterday and Gunnedah will be held today.
The new Local Land Services needs a model that delivers an effective job. That’s critical. While job cuts might be critical to a government looking to rebalance budgets, we need a working model. We don’t need another Draft Strategic Land Use Policy scenario.