National Farmers' Federation

COVID-19: Governments must guarantee nationally consistent provisions for farmers and transport operators

Governments must assure all Australians that the agricultural supply chain will not be disrupted by state and territory border closures and mandatory quarantine periods, the National Farmers’ Federation has reiterated today.

“Protecting human health is the most important priority and the requirement for state border closures and mandatory quarantine is understood,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

“However, we are calling on Governments to immediately formally implement and communicate nationally consistent, straight-forward exemptions for farmers and transport operators, so Australians’ access to fresh produce can continue to be guaranteed.

“Getting produce from paddock to plate is a complex process that often spans multiple state and territory jurisdictions.

“Whether it’s moving fruit from north Queensland to New South Wales, or livestock from selling centres in Victoria to processors in South Australia, freedom of movement is critical.

“Logistics that deliver inputs such as fodder, fertiliser and packaging to farms, meat processors and packing facilities are also fundamental.

“Right now, the last thing the people who are doing the important job of producing, processing and delivering every-day essentials need is inconsistency across states and territories and a mountain of cumbersome paperwork.”

Mr Mahar said the Federal Government had reassured the NFF that the continuity of the agricultural supply chain was a top priority.

“The Government understands that the unfettered operation of agriculture and the supply chain services that support it, is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

“However, there is an anxiousness from farmers and supporting industries, about their continued ability to do business in the face of the recent state and territory border restrictions and mandatory quarantine periods.

“It is common sense that priority provisions be made for agriculture.

“We’re calling for these commitments to be formally recognised and if need be, confirmed by the appropriate tiers of Government, to give farmers, the supply chain and all Australians peace of mind.

“We need certainty from all levels of government that this is the case and expect a formal announcement as a matter of priority.”

Media Enquiries

Laureta Wallace – GM, Media & Communications

(m) 0408 448 250 / (e) lwallace@nff.org.au

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