National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson has welcomed positive additional commitments by Labor in its Agriculture and Regional Communities Statement released today.
“The NFF is particularly pleased by a commitment to ‘deliver long-term, sustainable funding’ to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system.
“It comes at time when cattle producers are staring down outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease in Indonesia and their potential to infiltrate our borders.
“Biosecurity underpins the ongoing success of Australian agriculture. It’s crucial to safeguarding our natural environment; protecting livestock and crop health, and maintaining and growing market access.
“The NFF has long called for funding in perpetuity for biosecurity and while we welcome Labor’s statement today, we are yet to see the detail on how this will be implemented.
“Biosecurity is a national task. It needs the support, knowledge and action from community, industry, science and all levels of government; we simply cannot afford anything less than a comprehensive model.”
Ms Simson also cautiously commended Labor’s commitment to considering the NFF’s Regional Development Precincts proposal: a real plan for a more vibrant and more equitable regional Australia.
“Our regions are being left in the dust when it comes to infrastructure and development and as a result, rural Australians face many inequities in their access to fundamentals such as health, education, telecommunications and housing.
“The NFF’s Regional Development Precincts proposal lays down a clear plan to support: industry and job creation, improved essential services and amenities, and the development of key infrastructure.
“The plan requires an industry and all of Government effort and we’re delighted that an Albanese Government would work with the NFF to progress this vision.”
Ms Simson acknowledged Labor’s new concept of an Agri Tech Hub to explore peri-urban agriculture and a commitment to improve existing regulations in pursuit of more accurate food labelling.
“We acknowledge Labor has publicly recognised the need for supporting the demonstration of sustainable agriculture, especially to export markets, but we remain concerned this has yet to appear in policy documents.”
Ms Simson said the NFF continued to be dismayed at Labor’s tin ear on agriculture’s workforce crisis and its failure to support a genuine Ag Visa.
“Labor’s snubbing of the Ag Visa is effectively putting the handbrake on agriculture’s growth and that of regional Australia.
“We also remain concerned at Labor’s notion to end live sheep exports. It is the NFF’s strong hope, that if elected, a Labor Federal Government would see for itself the industry’s transformational changes and its consequential bright future.”