The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has made a rallying call to farmers and political candidates in Rockhampton today.
Speaking at the launch of the NFF’s Agriculture: Growing Australia campaign, held in partnership with AgForce, NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar called on farmers to unite to ensure their voice was heard in the lead up to polling day.
“Australian agriculture is an economic powerhouse and the foundation of our nation’s social fabric.
“Yet, our industry continues to have to defend our right to farm and fight for the policies and investments we need to fuel our growth.
Mr Mahar said the NFF’s election priorities outlined in Agriculture: Growing Australia reflected the sector’s goal to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“The importance of this election for agriculture can’t be understated.
“If we are to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, agriculture needs a Government that will work with us to lay the foundations for growth. A Government that ‘gets us’.”
The NFF’s key ask this election is for the development of a Government plan for agriculture.
“It’s not good enough that unlike many other industries, agriculture doesn’t have a Government-led plan,” Mr Mahar said.
Speaking to cattle producers and local candidates at the Criterion Hotel Mr Mahar said the NFF called on the next Government to continue to pursue an ambitious trade agenda.
“I don’t have to tell Queensland farmers about the importance of trade. Australia, including beef producers, have done well from preferential trade deals.
“The 46th Parliament must act immediately to ratify the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.”
Mr Mahar said the NFF was concerned about the impact of unrealistic emissions targets may have on farmers.
“The NFF supports a national energy policy that reduces emissions, and improves affordability and reliability.
“Any climate change and energy policy must get the balance right by delivering for the environment without penalising production.
“As part of this balance, we believe farmers, who manage 50% of the landscape, must be rewarded financially for the role they play in protecting the environment for all Australians.”
Among the NFF’s other key asks this Federal Election is: continued investment in regional telecommunications and connectivity; the development of an agriculture-specific visa and an internationally-competitive tax system.
In partnership with AgForce, the NFF also hosted an agriculture-focussed Capricornia candidate’s debate with Michelle Landry (Liberal National Party), Paul Bambrick (Greens), Wade Rothery (One Nation) and George Birkheck (Katters Australia Party).