The Prime Minister’s decision to merge the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources with the environment portfolio is a pragmatic decision.
“The environment, water management and agriculture are mutually dependent,” National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson said.
“Farmers manage more than half of Australia’s landscape. Almost all of the policy decisions taken in the environment portfolio impact agriculture.
“The merging of these portfolios will be incredibly valuable in ensuring the impact on one area is considered when a decision is taken in another.
“It is the NFF’s hope that the merger will ensure, at a government level, agriculture is entrenched as an active participant in future environmental policy.
“Farmers are frontline environmentalists. Everyday farmers are delivering natural resource benefits on behalf of all farmers.
“Just today, NFF and KPMG released new research outlining opportunities for farmers to realise new returns from natural resource management.”
Ms Simson acknowledged outgoing Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Secretary, Daryl Quinlivan for his significant contribution to the farm sector and national water management.
“During his time in the position, Mr Quinlivan has overseen significant advances for agriculture including the carving out of expanded export opportunities for Australian food and fibre; the continued development of the nation’s frontline biosecurity system; reform of Australia’s live animal export industry; the ongoing implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and other water agreements and changes to federal government drought assistance measures.
Most recently, Mr Quinlivan lead the Department in its policy support of NFF’s vision for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“On behalf of the NFF Board and Members, I thank Mr Quinlivan for his service and wish him all the very best for the future.”
Ms Simson acknowledged incoming Secretary of the new Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, Andrew Metcalfe.
“Having held the position of agriculture secretary before, Mr Metcalfe knows our industry. He is an experienced and astute administrator.
“We hope together we can continue the to-date successful government-industry collaboration towards reaching agriculture’s $100 billion goal.
“Our sector faces challenges, but these are outstripped by opportunity.
“The NFF looks forward to working with Mr Metcalfe on addressing these challenges and realising the opportunities before us.”