19 May 2000

MAFF staff petition

REPRESENTATIVES from MAFFs nine regional service centres handed in a petition signed by 3000 farmers calling for the RSCs to be kept open to farm minister Nick Brown on Wednesday.

Mr Brown is currently considering radical proposals to close most of the regional offices. This will be part of a restructuring process that will see farmers communicate with MAFF via a call centre and submit subsidy forms via the internet.

Farmers are concerned that the changes would remove the face to face contact they currently enjoy with MAFF staff.

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The petition was signed as farmers throughout the country visited RSCs to hand in their subsidy forms before the IACS deadline on Monday.