Red tape seals dreams of Granite Belt producers
CLAUDINE Binet is hoping to affect change for fellow farmers and producers on the Granite Belt and around the state.
The 62-year-old Amiens producer is lobbying for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to overhaul planning regulations and fees, and with more than 5500 signatures to date on her petition she's not alone.
"Trying to start your own cottage industry selling homemade sauces, jams and chutneys to visitors from a corner of my shed located on my rural property 20 minutes from Stanthorpe is even more of a nightmare due to red tape and excessive fees,” Ms Binet said.
"When I first started, I gave up and then thought no, I need to try it again and paid the fees, but it's too much.
"You just want to collapse in a heap and say 'what do I have to do to earn a living in regional Australia?'.
"I realise that there needs to be rules and regulations, but there also needs to be common sense.
"I'm all for bureaucratic intervention when it is, for example, barring an overseas company from coming in and mining local granite, but we're all put in the same basket and it's hurting locals.
"My proposed shop in my already existing shed does not impact on the environment, does not impact on traffic conditions, does not impact on my neighbours peace and quiet, does not create pollution and waste and the list goes on.”
Ms Binet said she was struggling to cover the costs of water management and a concrete road entrance to the shed, which she said Southern Downs Regional Council was mandating she install. aShe said she wanted to elevate the petition to state level as she recognised Southern Downs Regional Council in many instances was merely enacting state legislation.
"There are many people in my age group and even younger can't find work but still have the energy and desire to do something on their own property,” Ms Binet said.
"The benefit to the community is that we continue to earn our living in regions that are deprived of employment opportunities.
"In order to make our products we need to purchase items from local businesses therefore we contribute to other local businesses.
"I know I am not the only one going through this.
"There are many like me that would like to earn their living by selling their farm products from their properties.
"But the red tape and regulations and so on make it so difficult that the ideas are often abandoned.”
The petition caught the attention of fellow Stanthorpe local Bill Humble who also fears bureaucratic red tape is harming the diverse farming community on the Granite Belt.
The retired businessman and hobby farmer said he felt it was wrong for regulations to be imposed onto small scale farmers trying to earn a wage.
"For years people could sell right from there farms,” Mr Humble said.
"This is the first time I've noticed (the petition) but it came up on the Facebook page and I couldn't understand why people had to go through all the rigmarole.
"People sell in this way along the fruit run from Stanthorpe to Dalveen through The Summit.
"For me I just get annoyed seeing people short changed and if they keep this sort of thing up it's bound to affect people."
For more information or to sign the petition, go to www.change.org.