National Farmers' Federation

Farmers meet in Canberra during Budget week

The National Farmers’ Federation and its members, met in Canberra this week for the 34th NFF Members Council, bringing together state farming organisations and peak commodity councils to discuss the key issues facing the sector.

The two days was the first face-to-face meeting of the NFF membership since late 2019 when much of the country was in the grips of drought.

“Widespread rainfall and strong commodity prices meant there was a welcomed renewed sense of optimism amongst the farmers in the room,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

The meeting came a day after a very positive Federal Budget for agriculture with meaningful investment in trade, infrastructure; soils and climate change adaptation; telecommunications and regional health.

“The Budget has answered many of the asks highlighted in the NFF’s budget submission with spending to deliver tangible, on-the-ground benefits for farmers and advance the NFF-led goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030,” Ms Simson said.

In particular, the Government exceeded the $400 million over four years, the NFF detailed was necessary to extend and modernise Australia’s ailing biosecurity system.

The Budget measures coincided with Members Council’s endorsement of an amendment to the NFF’s biosecurity policy calling for the implementation of a national biosecurity biosecurity strategy; a Government commitment to a sustainable long-term, renewable funding stream and improved industry and government communication during and outside biosecurity incidents.

Delegates heard from Department of Agriculture, Water & the Environment, Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity and Compliance, Andrew Tongue, who provided a salient insight into the immediate biosecurity risks threatening agriculture, the economy and the environment.

The meeting also endorsed a statement recognising the farm sector’s commitment to zero-tolerance for sexual harassment on Australian farms.

“With a direct workforce of more than 250,000 Australians, the NFF and our members are committed to ensuring agriculture is an employer of choice, where farmers manage workplaces in which workers feel safe and respected at all times – with absolutely no exceptions.

“Agriculture has a major workforce deficit, if we are to attract the people power we need, it’s imperative we reassure prospective workers, that our farms are positive, safe places to work.”

Ms Simson said the next steps were to communicate the commitment and to ensure all farmers understood their obligations under the law and the NFF’s pledge.

Add comment