NSW Farmers is giving politicians a chance to make their pitch to voters on key issues with its Regional Debate series.
Designed to focus on agricultural and regional issues ahead of the state election, the first Regional Debate will be held in Goulburn on Tuesday night and feature Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin, Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe, Greens spokeswoman for environment Sue Higginson and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers spokesman Robert Borsak.
NSW Farmers Head of Policy and Advocacy Annabel Johnson said finding the right balance between agricultural productivity and environmental outcomes would be important in the next term of government.
“We want to hear from all sides of politics regarding the important issue of the environment,” Ms Johnson said.
“As land managers, farmers have a critical role in environmental conservation; but historically, farmers have faced a changing landscape of confusing legislation and environmental targets.
“Environmental conservation is incredibly important, but food certainty is another important objective and the two are not mutually exclusive; it’s all about finding balance.”
Polling commissioned by NSW Farmers revealed the number one issue for voters was the cost of living with high food and grocery costs likely to make an impact at the ballot box. Ms Johnson said savvy politicians would be finding ways to secure food production in NSW, and this meant getting the balance right on the environment.
“Farmers grow healthy plants and healthy animals to make the food and fibre we all need, and we have seen the pain that supply chain disruptions can cause for people,” Ms Johnson said.
“The message we are getting out to decision-makers and voters is that investing in agriculture now will save a lot of stress down the road, whether it’s better road and rail infrastructure, stronger biosecurity, more research and development, clear workforce strategies, or effective land use planning.
“We want to highlight that in order to keep food affordable, we need a sustainable and functioning agriculture sector.”
The Regional Debate: Environment will be held at the Goulburn Soldiers Club from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday, January 31. Visit https://form.jotform.com/holleyt/regional-debate-goulburn-rsvp-form to register for the event.