The nation’s peak body representing farmers, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), has today released their 2013 election scorecard, which marks each of the major political parties on their response to the five key priority areas for agriculture this election. The key election priorities identified by the NFF are: * Growing Australian Agriculture: reprioritising agriculture in the national agenda. * Investing in RD&E: driving innovation and productivity through increased investment in agriculture RD&E. * Increasing competitiveness and profitability: ensuring we are a globally competitive and our farmers remain profitable. * Building a stronger workforce: encouraging greater uptake of agricultural careers and delivering improved labour solutions. * Balancing agriculture and the environment: ensuring our natural resources can continue to be managed while also increasing agricultural production. The scorecard rates Labor, the Coalition and the Greens on their commitment to these key priorities, based on each party’s capacity to deliver on their promises and their broader policy stance on issues affecting agriculture. “We are now less than three weeks out from the election, and although agriculture, food and fibre now rate a mention from the major parties, we are not as high on the priority list as we would like,” NFF President, Duncan Fraser said. “The agriculture sector is a vital contributor to Australia’s well-being, and it is critical that government policy reflects the importance of our food and fibre industries. “The NFF sought a response from all three major parties to our election priorities several months ago – whilst we had a detailed response from Labor and the Greens, we’re still waiting to hear from the Coalition on how they will address the very real issues faced by the ag sector today. “While Labor and the Coalition have both shown a commitment to improved trade outcomes, and a range of infrastructure initiatives including assessing the possibilities in developing northern Australia, the complex and numerous issues affecting the ag industry span across the country, and across government portfolios. “The positives include Labor’s Food Plan, the Coalition’s commitment to cut red tape and the Greens promise to lift support for R&D. However, there is much room for improvement from all parties with just weeks remaining in the campaign,” Mr Fraser said. “We want to see politicians reprioritising agriculture in the national agenda, and an improved recognition of how important agriculture is to all Australians.” The NFF election scorecard will be updated as new policies are released over the coming weeks, and a final scorecard will be published prior to polling day. “This scorecard is a guide to the respective parties’ commitment to agriculture and rural and regional communities. We need a government that will deliver a strong and vibrant food and fibre industry into the future,” Mr Fraser said. More information on the NFF’s election priorities, as well as the scorecard, can be found on http://www.nff.org.au[this website].