We thank the Queensland Government for initiating the opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations on the possible establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Queensland. AFSA welcomes further opportunities to participate in consultation and the development of the EPA.
AFSA commends the Queensland State Government Department of Environment & Science for taking steps to ensure the protection of the environment in line with other states and territories with established independent EPAs. We believe that transparency and accountability delivered through independent EPAs are critical to ensure governments, businesses and citizens act with respect to the environment, including land, water and native flora and fauna. In a changing climate, AFSA believes it is critical to mitigate any negative impacts on the environment.
The opportunity to participate in this stakeholder consultation for the possible establishment of an EPA aims to inform the Queensland Government on some of the challenges smallholders in other states and territories have faced under EPA regulations. AFSA represents small-scale food producers and advocates for their right to participate in and determine local food systems under legislation and regulation that is fair, consistent and reflects the scale of their operations. Underpinned by the principles of food sovereignty, we are proponents of socially-just, ecologically-sound food and agricultural systems through the application of agroecology. Agroecology is a both a science and social movement which incorporates ecological methods with indigenous knowledge systems to establish holistic management of agricultural lands and waters. In the social context of Australia, First Nations people are considered at the heart of the food sovereignty movement and agroecological farming.
As such, the recommendations put forward in this submission aim to particularly inform the Queensland Government on scale-appropriate regulation for small-scale food producers under an independent EPA, with a focus on the importance of democratic participation in environmental protection and living and acting in harmony with nature.