Labor’s positive plan for agriculture

A Shorten Labor Government has a positive plan to lift productivity and sustainable profitability in Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

This election is a choice between a Shorten Labor Government with a plan for agriculture, or more cuts and chaos from the Liberals and Nationals who are asleep at the wheel.

We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough.

Labor understands Australia cannot have a strong national economy if we don’t have strong regional economies and we cannot have strong regional economies without strong food and fibre sectors.

Labor will work collaboratively and constructively with key stakeholders to achieve their key aspiration to grow the value of the agriculture sector to $100 billion by 2030, and to achieve carbon neutrality in the same year. 

To reach these goals new policy settings, attitudes and approaches will be required.

Labor believes agriculture, fisheries and forestry policies must be underpinned by one primary principle; productivity and sustainable profitability.

A Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Restore proper Commonwealth-State cooperation and coordination by resurrecting the CoAG process through the restoration of the Standing Council on Primary Industries which the Abbott Government abolished five years ago.
  • Protect Australia’s status as predominately pest and disease free.  Labor will work with industry groups to properly design and implement the Import Biosecurity Levy which will provide an additional $313 million to strengthen our biosecurity system.   
  • Restore the CoAG drought reform process and dispatch Australia’s agriculture-based Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) to help farmers build defences against an increasingly variable, hot and dry climate.  
  • Ask the Council of RDCs to lead the development of an Agricultural Climate Response Plan (ACRP) to dramatically increase the uptake of drought adaptation practices and sustainable farming methods.  
  • Provide $400 million over four years to implement the Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Program delivering the same level of funding the Morrison Government has promised from the non-existent Drought Future Fund without abolishing the Building Australia Infrastructure Fund.  
  • Provide real action on climate change. Ignoring climate change is simply not an option. Each year the agriculture sector grows more exposed to extreme weather events and drought. A Shorten Labor Government will reduce carbon pollution in the industrial, energy and transport sectors and work with the land sector to provide farmers and foresters with the opportunity to earn income from the carbon market.  Labor’s initiatives include:  

    o $2 million to support the meat industry’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 through the development of a Strategic Red Meat Industry plan.   

    o $40 million to develop robust methodologies to allow farmers and foresters to earn revenue in the carbon economy.

Labor will also:

  • Invest $1.5 million to complete critical infrastructure and equipment upgrades to the Central Queensland Livestock Centre of Excellence.
  • Commit $3.9 million to Beef Australia 2021.
  • Provide real action to support our dairy farmers who are facing a crisis, caught in a cost-price squeeze compounded by drought.
  • Provide $400,000 to secure the future of Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia PIEFA. For 10 Years PIEFA has been working with our schools to ensure our kids know where their food and fibre comes from, how it is produced and how important the sector is to our economy.
  • Deliver comprehensive policies and a Strategic Plan for the fisheries sector.
  • Deliver comprehensive policies and a Strategic Plan for the forestry sector.
  • Restore National Leadership on Animal Welfare.
  • Review the architecture and operations of our Research and Development Corporations architecture to ensure every dollar spent is a dollar well spent.
  • Lift research and development investment to 3 per cent of GDP per annum by 2030.
  • These policy initiatives will be supported by Labor’s other announced policies including:
  • Deliver Nation-Building Infrastructure. Labor is committed to the nation-building infrastructure Australia needs. We will work with state and territory governments to get projects up and running. Full details can be found here.
  • Invest $245 million to address mobile black spots, improve digital inclusion and fund local projects to improve connectivity in regional communities. Full details can be found here.
  • Ensure trade agreements work for all those in agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors by:

    o Prioritising the finalisation of trade agreements with the European Union and the United Kingdom and the regional trade agreement known as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

    o Getting businesses more involved in the development of new trade agreements. We will establish an Accredited Advisers system where businesses, unions and other organisations will be shown the draft text of trade agreements as they are being negotiated and asked to provide real time feedback.

    o Setting up a joint team made up of officers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Industry to help businesses resolve non-tariff barriers.

    o Helping businesses make the most of the rise of Asia, including in trade, through our Future Asia plan.

  • Supporting firms to innovation and grow through our $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund (AMFF)
  • Invest in a $25 million food and fibre industry strategy to drive local jobs and innovation, as well as attract investment in manufacturing, particularly in rural and regional areas.

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver investor certainty, productivity growth, sustainable profitability and jobs.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan to invest in communities around Australia, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals and Nationals.

After six years of Liberal and Nationals cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready. 

If you want a fair go for all Australians, vote Labor.

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