Weeds cost NSW agriculture an estimated $1.8 billion a year, and a new commission could help target the problem, Labor leaders say.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin welcomed NSW Labor's pledge to legislate and fund an independent Biosecurity Commission to better protect farmers on the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands.
Ms Saffin says the Commission will be headed by a new Biosecurity Commissioner who will provide independent advice on biosecurity, weeds and pests, reporting to Parliament on an annual basis.
"One of the Commissioner's first tasks will be to work with the Natural Resources Commission to get an up-to-date picture of the damage invasive species are doing to the agricultural industry and the environment," Ms Saffin said.
In 2014, it was conservatively estimated that the cost to NSW agriculture from weeds is about $1.8 billion a year.
The Commission will be tasked with addressing critical issues in the bush such as identifying and protecting state significant land and renewable energy projects.
Ms Saffin has been briefed by NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns and NSW Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Regional NSW Mick Veitch MLC on Labor's plan to work with NSW Farmers and others to build a more resilient agricultural sector.
Ms Saffin also welcomed Mr Minns' announcement made at the NSW Farmers' Conference in Sydney last week that NSW Labor would:
"A Biosecurity Commissioner with real clout and a well-resourced Commission would better protect our best farmland, and ensure food security and a more sustainable and productive agriculture industry."
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