Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie, today met with agriculture industry leaders agricultural today to hear about the impact of the recent bushfires and discuss the road to recovery for many businesses and communities.
Minister McKenzie, who was joined by Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack and Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, National Disaster and Emergency Management, led the roundtable meeting at Parliament House with more than 20 agriculture sectors represented.
“The full devastation of these bushfires on our farmers, fishers, foresters is yet to be fully realised, but we do know that many farmers have lost their livestock and fruit crops. Foresters have seen their plantations destroyed, fishers have lost the ability to maintain their catch throughout this crisis and beekeepers have seen over 4600 hives destroyed with 23,000 suffering losses.
To rebuild these impacted businesses and communities will take an intentional and coordinated approach and today was the first of many discussions as we work together to support our $60 billion agriculture sector, which is a major employer across regional Australia.
“Our government has always stood by our agricultural producers, which is why are provided grants of up to $75,000 for primary producers and increasing the Rural Financial Counselling Service by 60 people.
“Today, agriculture leaders shared not only the impact of the bushfires on farmers and their communities, but also how incredible the community support has been, from Kangaroo Island farmers receiving 1,000 tonnes of donated fodder to Tasmanian oyster farmers offering practical assistance to restock and dairy processors donating generators to dairy farmers.
“Further meetings with the agriculture sector will be an important part of recovery for our farmers and building resilience for the future.”
A copy of the meeting communique follows.