With Australians set to go to the polls on 21 May, the National Farmers’ Federation has issued a challenge to both parties to commit to delivering on what agriculture and regional Australia needs to thrive.
“Despite the challenges of the past three years, farmers have continued to be the engine of the nation: keeping supermarket shelves stocked, jobs in place and batting above our average when it comes to GDP contribution,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“Strong commodity prices and wide-spread positive seasonal conditions have farm gate values tipped to exceed $80 billion in 2022-23, closing in on the NF’s target of $100b by 2030.
“COVID has prompted the great tree change with Australians of all ages leaving the city lights to make their home in regional towns and cities.
“In 2022, agriculture and the bush is on a trajectory of growth. Now is the time to supercharge this momentum with strategic government investment and policy.”
The NFF’s Time to Thrive – Stronger Regions for all Australians election priorities makes the case for five key actions:
- Plan for Smarter Regional Growth
Establish 20 Regional Development Precincts to plan for sustainable growth, supported by $4.1 billion for precincts and freight supply chains.
- Partner for a Healthier Environment
Create a $2 billion fund to reward land managers who improve the health of their landscape.
- Connect Every Australian
Establish a $5 billion Rural Telecommunications Fund to improve connectivity for remote Australians.
- Secure Australia’s Farm Workforce
Fast track Ag Visa discussions with 10 partner nations and attract and train more Australian workers.
- Give Farmers a Fair Go
Reform Australia’s competition laws to protect farmers from unfair practices.
“Our plan is ambitious but deservedly so. Our regions account for about 40 per cent of the nation’s total economic output and 90pc of the daily food we consume is produced by our farmers,” Ms Simson said.
“This election, parties seeking to hold office must do more than provide lip service to those outside city bounds, they must commit to delivering on the priorities identified by the NFF and our members.”
The NFF has written to all major parties seeking a response to the NFF’s #TimeToThrive election priorities. Sign up to receive these responses ahead of polling day at www.timetothrive.com.au