The VFF has welcomed the Victorian Government’s new Regional Riparian Action Plan, which will accelerate riparian works to improve the health of waterways.
VFF land management chairman Gerald Leach thanked Environment Minister Lisa Neville for her continued support for voluntary partnerships between farmers and catchment management authorities.
‘‘The action plan is a positive step and recognises the major contribution our farmers make in improving the condition of our waterways and estuaries through voluntary action,’’ Mr Leach said.
‘‘We have always believed farmers are the best environmentalists.
‘‘We understand and value the health of our waterways and the environment.’’
Mr Leach said the importance of collaborative action between Landcare, farmers and catchment management authorities could not be over-estimated.
‘‘Voluntary community effort is the critical ingredient in effective action to improve the health of our waterways.
‘‘Farmers are often best placed to manage a riparian Crown frontage, given they’re working on neighbouring land every day.’’
However, Mr Leach said it was crucial farmers were valued and rewarded for voluntary initiatives they undertook on this land, such as revegetation or invasive species control.
‘‘These voluntary and local community efforts should be rewarded. The VFF has long advocated for the expansion of incentives for riparian fencing and management.
‘‘Riparian management works can be costly, involving constructing and maintaining fences, planting and establishing off-stream watering points, purchasing a take and use licence, and maintaining riparian land with limited stock grazing.
‘‘Where the community wants environmental outcomes from riparian land, incentives should be provided to encourage landholders to deliver these outcomes.
Landholders should not be forced to bear these costs alone,’’ Mr Leach said.