IPA Today

IPA Research: Red And Green Tape is Strangling Australia’s Farming Future

Written by and
7 September 2022

“Each year there are more city-based bureaucrats with clipboards telling farmers what they can and can’t do, than there are actual farmers. Red and green tape is strangling Australia’s farming future,” says Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

In a keynote address today at the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia in Perth, Daniel Wild will release a new research report by the IPA, Australia’s Green Tape Army: A comparative analysis of the growth of the environmental bureaucracy and the agricultural sector.

The report reveals that since the year 2000, the size of the federal environmental bureaucracy has grown three times faster than the agricultural sector itself.

“Despite pledges from successive governments to relieve farmers of burdensome regulation, the evidence is clear that red and green tape, and the bureaucrats that administer it, keep piling up,” said Mr Wild.

The report finds that since 2000, at the federal level:

  • The federal environmental bureaucracy has more than tripled, while employment in agriculture throughout the country has declined by one-fifth
  • The cost of the Federal Government’s environmental bureaucracy has grown at almost three times the rate as the size of Australia’s entire agriculture sector.
  • For every job created in the environmental bureaucracy, 14 jobs have been destroyed in Australia’s agricultural sector.

At the state government level in Western Australia since 2000:

  • The Western Australia’s environmental bureaucracy has more than quadrupled while employment in agriculture throughout the state has declined by one-third.
  • WA’s environmental bureaucracy cost has grown at almost six times the rate as the size of Western Australia’s agriculture sector.
  • For every job created in Western Australia’s environmental bureaucracy, 21 jobs have been destroyed in Western Australia’s agricultural sector.

The report highlights the extent of the problem by uncovering the fact that there are now 20% more bureaucrats working in the green tape army than soldiers serving in Australia’s regular army.

“We are now at a point where there are more city-based environmental bureaucrats imposing red and green tape on farmers than there are Australians serving in the regular army,” said Mr Wild.

“Australia’s farmers feed and clothe the world and are critical to Australia’s food security, yet are more put upon by governments at all levels than perhaps any other sector.”

“Governments at both state and federal levels need to show leadership by taking concrete action to alleviate the regulatory burden on farmers. We need to let our farmers get on with the job of feeding and clothing the nation, free from harassment of inner-city bureaucrats,” said Mr Wild.

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Daniel Wild

Daniel Wild is the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs

Kevin You

Dr Kevin You is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

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