National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of Senator Murray Watt as Australia’s new Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
“Now more than ever agriculture needs strong leadership as our farmers tackle the challenges of climate change, workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions and biosecurity threats from overseas,” Ms Simson said.
The NFF also congratulates the Hon Tanya Plibersek on her appointment as Minister for Environment and Water.
“This portfolio is critical to the farm sector and we look forward to progressing vital issues such as EPBC Act reform and Murray Darling Basin management. We invite Minister Plibersek on a tour of the Basin at an early and convenient time.”
Ms Simson said trade and market access would always be critical to agriculture and expanding opportunities for farmers in international markets by working collaboratively with the newly appointed Trade and Investment Minister, Senator the Hon Don Farrell was a priority.
“The NFF and its members worked tirelessly to develop election priorities to benefit our farmers and all Australians. At the top of the list is working with Minister for Immigration Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Andrew Giles to address the chronic labour shortages crippling the farming sector.
“All of this will help not just by providing food for our tables, fibre for our clothes and timber for our buildings, but also with job opportunities and addressing the rising costs of groceries.
“Each day Australians are feeling the pain at the supermarket checkout. There are several factors at play, but improving supply chain resilience, competition law reform and worker availability will go a long way to keeping essentials affordable.”
“We welcome Hon Chris Bowen continuing his work as Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy in a ministerial capacity. Farmers and the wider community have made it clear they are concerned about climate change. Farmers need to fully understand the risks, opportunities and be able to seek independent advice on the best pathways forward.”
Ms Simson said despite these challenges it was an exciting time for agriculture, an industry that had powered Australia through the economic headwinds brought on by natural disasters, a pandemic and global uncertainty.
“The fact there are four Ministries that explicitly reference regions gives us comfort this is a key area for the new Government and we look forward to progressing our regionalisation election platform with these newly minted Ministers.
“Michelle Rowland takes on the important portfolio of telecommunications to implement the positive commitments Labor made to improve mobile phone and internet service in the bush.”
“We will continue the already strong relationship with Minister Watt and other Albanese Government ministers who are key to progressing these priorities so agriculture can reach its goal to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“It is also very important to us to engage with the Opposition and crossbench on these issues vital to farmers and the bush.”