On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Minister for Drought and Natural Disasters David Littleproud, would be sworn in as the new Minister for Agriculture following the resignation of Senator Bridget McKenzie.
Minister Littleproud has held the Drought and Natural Disaster portfolio since 2019, which saw him oversee the Government’s response to drought, flooding and more recently bushfires.
Born and raised in Chinchilla, Minister Littleproud has been heavily involved in the agriculture sector since his youth. Over the past twenty years, Littleproud has owned a small business in Warwick and forged a career in agribusiness.
Minister Littleproud previously held the Agriculture portfolio under Malcolm Turnbull, which National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said would provide a level of continuity to the sector as it continues to suffer through incredibly difficult times.
“Having held the agriculture portfolio before and most recently the responsibilities of water, drought and natural disaster, Mr Littleproud knows the farm sector’s issues better than most,” Ms Simson said.
With the reshuffle, Minister Littleproud will keep his Drought and Emergency Management portfolios while Nationals frontbenchers, Keith Pitt and Darren Chester will be promoted to Cabinet.
Mr Pitt will take on the Water, Resources and Northern Australia portfolios while Mr Chester will retain his Veteran’s Affairs and Defence Personnel portfolio.
Fiona Simson said the drought remained the NFF’s top priority for Minister Littleproud as he settles into his new role, in addition to trade, biosecurity, labour and environmental issues.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Minister Littleproud in support of the NFF’s National Drought Policy,” Ms Simson said.
“It’s also absolutely critical that the Government rigorously pursues the interests of our farmers in free trade agreements with the European Union and the United Kingdom and works to build relationships with India.
“We need to continue to invest in strong, sophisticated biosecurity systems to protect valuable international market access and to guard our industries against damaging pests, weeds and diseases.
“A key priority is to continue conversations about rewarding farmer fiscally for the environmental works they do every day on behalf of all Australians. Farmers manage 52% of our nation’s landscape.
“Government must also work with industry on solutions to agriculture’s labour shortage. Increased people power is integral to productivity growth.”