$85b high note, but time to fix pockmarked roads and ruined rail

Australian farmers yet again show they punch above their weight, with production forecast to hit a near-record $85 billion despite the significant curveballs the season has thrown their way.

The ABARES Agricultural Commodities and Crop Reports show agriculture has forecast farmers will reap the second largest winter crop ever, with bumper crops in some regions offsetting the losses caused by flooding. The livestock sector has also kept the home fires burning.

NFF President Fiona Simson said this news aligned with the NFF’s newly released 2022 Report Card, which showed that despite significant seasonal challenges facing farmers, the industry’s performance was holding surprisingly firm.

“These figures put us above $80 billion for the second year running, showing we are making progress against our goal to be Australia’s next $100 billion industry,” Ms Simson said.

“But while our farmers are moving the Australian economy forward, we believe that with the right support we can still unlock huge untapped potential in the sector.

“We acknowledge the good work that has been done so far around biosecurity, telecommunications and climate mitigation, but it’s time to get serious about the other challenges highlighted in our 2030 Report Card.

“A priority must be for all tiers of government to work together get our flood damaged infrastructure back to standard as quickly as possible.

“Our farming sector may have hit a high note, but it’s time to face the music on pockmarked roads and ruined rail.

“We still have farmers left stranded by decimated roads, unable to shift produced beyond the farmgate, while thousands of kilometres of damaged transport infrastructure is slowing down the supply chains from paddock to plate.

“We know the job of repairing road and rail infrastructure will take years and many billions of dollars – it needs to start immediately and at a scale to match the level of this crisis.

“We can’t stop natural disasters, but we can mitigate their impacts and our governments need to look at ways to prevent such extreme damage as well as ways to act swiftly to respond and repair.

“Getting these things right is good for our farmers, is good for our economy and it is good for Australian families struggling with the rise in cost of living.”

To view the Report Card, click here.

To view the ABARES reports, click here.

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