Saturday, May 08, 2010

An Environmental Duty of Care?

Australian landholders are possibly going to have imposed on them an environmental duty of care, in relation to land. It is not spelt out in any real detail, nor does it imply which groups will be affected- all or some landholders, nor whether the Crown itself would be bound by such a duty of care.

The Henry Tax review seems to have strayed a little in delving into this subject. Maybe landholders can claim significantly more as a deduction for doing this work?

Given that the Crown in almost any jurisdiction cannot adequately manage NOW the land it controls this could soon descend into serious farce. If you look at weeds, feral animals, and similar problems it is usually the Crown that has the worst records of adequate management of the land it controls. Most if not all other landholders do take some measures to use suitable environmental management practices.

Would this new approach mandate using conservation tillage? Doing do would mean more soil carbon stored, but that may also interfere with adequate soil disease control and / or in some cases aid disease control. Who gets to decide on the appropriate action? And if you used the most cost effective herbicide to control weeds but which only offered 90% control versus some new patented product at 10 times the price which gave 95% control [ rarely get 100% in real conditions] are you carrying out your environmental duty of care?

This could be a lawyers picnic!

Almost all landholders exercise a fair and reasonable approach to the management of the land and imposing these extra conditions seem silly. Who will pay?

Why not use a similar approach with urban land holders? Should they be forced to compost all their organic waste and use on site to minimise use of landfill or other disposal methods? Is that part of their environmental duty of care?

As I said..............a lawyers picnic is coming if this proceeds! sounds good, but could be fraught with bureaucratic nonsense especially over any competing choices - cuddly animals or weed control might be choices that would be needed. Who wins? Who decides?

Other commentators seem to have similar issues.

See -

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