National Farmers' Federation

Farmers launch national advertising blitz for election ‘07

AT THIS federal election, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is weighing in on the key issues for Australian farmers with a national television and radio advertising campaign – encompassing metropolitan and regional markets. The campaign zeros in on three of its election issues: * Drought preparedness in a changing climate (metro and regional television); * The need for ongoing workplace relations reform (metro and regional television); and * Labor’s threat to future rural telecommunication services (regional television and radio). DROUGHT PREPAREDNESS “Having championed the need for an Australian government – of any political persuasion – to adopt our visionary ‘mutual obligation’ approach to better drought-proof Australia through targeted strategies for new technologies, new infrastructure and new farm systems, we are now taking that case to the Australian people,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie declared today. “It’s important that the public understand that Australian farmers are the first to recognise that drought relief alone is a stop-gap measure and that we, as a nation, must have a plan for the future. Relief is warranted and appreciated in the wake of the worst drought on record – it has taken an unprecedented toll on Australia’s vital agricultural base. “This drought has slashed three-quarters of a per cent off Australia’s national economic growth. Our farmers account for 20% of our national exports ($30 billion a year) and most of the daily food needs of the Australian people. “With so much at stake, and with the threat of increasing climate variability, we must now think strategically about how we – as a nation – plan for, and deal with, drought in the future. We’re proposing a positive and proactive plan for Australia’s future. “Surely, it’s time to rethink our future drought strategies. That’s why, beyond the ‘here-and-now’ crisis, we’re calling on both sides of politics to step up and work with farmers in better drought-proofing our agricultural base in the face of a changing climate. “It’s important, in light of the immediate crisis and long-term challenges of drought, that political parties are accountable for having a workable vision and commitment to real forward-looking solutions – not just rhetoric.” WORKPLACE REFORM The NFF renews its small business call for Australia to “get on with the job of workplace reform”. “Now is not the time to be looking back,” Mr Crombie said. “Farms are among the most important small businesses in Australia. They provide over 330,000 direct jobs, but support 1.6 million jobs across our cities and regions in retail, wholesale, processing, packaging and more. “The flexibility the new workplace relations system affords small business is pivotal. “In small business, employers and employees know their futures depend on each other working together for mutual benefit. It’s not the doom-and-gloom adversarial environment some would have us believe. “From our perspective, we need to continue workplace reform to ensure the flexible benefits of the new system flow to all businesses, including farmers, so employers and their employees together can look forward to a prosperous future.” TELECOMMUNICATIONS The NFF also targets federal Labor’s plan to “scrap” the $2 billion Australian Government Communications Fund, with an advertisement tailored for rural Australia. “The NFF was instrumental in campaigning for, and securing, the $2 billion Communications Fund as a perpetual investment that guarantees rural Australians get ongoing telecommunications upgrades,” Mr Crombie noted. “Interest accrued on the $2 billion investment ‘must’ be spent on upgrading telecommunications across rural Australia – including the most remote areas of the country. As the Fund grows, it rolls out the upgrades as new technology becomes available. “It guarantees rural families, communities and businesses – including the farm sector – are not ‘left behind’ just because the profit margins in bringing new technology to the bush aren’t as substantial as they are in metropolitan areas. “The Fund also ensures delivery of those services to rural Australians at metro-comparable prices, meaning they are equitable and affordable. “Labor’s policy will ransack the Fund and spend the money on city-based priorities, taking a very metro-centric position. They need to be accountable to rural Australians for that stance.” These issues, along with the NFF’s full array of election priorities, are clearly laid out within the peak farm group’s http://www.nff.org.au/read/2442828448.html[2007 Federal Election Policy Platform], released on 19 September 2007. The advertisements air nationally from Sunday 21 October. See the NFF’s http://www.nff.org.au/publications.html[2007 Federal Election Policy Platform]. [ENDS]

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