Tobi Loftus

Productivity Commission wants new animal welfare standards

NEW national animal welfare standards should be created for farm animals, while farmers need simpler regulations to run their businesses.

A draft Productivity Commission report on agriculture regulation was released Wednesday, calling for the "heavy burden" of laws and rules governing farming to be eased.

It said farmers faced regulations at every stage of the chain, from land laws to marketing, roads and vehicle use, across all levels of government.

But the report also found some, such as biosecurity, helped farmers to market their produce to the world.

The report found recent moves by the Turnbull government to tighten foreign investment "lacks a sound policy justification".

Commissioner Paul Lindwall said the recent rule changes, including scrutiny of all foreign investment in farm land over a $15 million threshold were "not in the public interest and should be unwound".

The draft report recommended a national body be set up to investigate the evidence and community attitudes towards animal welfare, and to develop new national welfare standards for agricultural animals - not just for live export.