The Coalition today announced a $147 million policy committed to the future profitability and sustained growth of the Australian agriculture/agribusiness sector, the Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, John Cobb, said today.
“Under a Coalition Government, agriculture will be one of the 5 pillars of the Australian economy,” Mr Cobb said.
“Australian agriculture is among the most innovative and efficient in the world, but it is under immense pressure from high input costs, overseas competition, a high Australian dollar and restrictive government policy.
“Underpinning the Coalition’s vision for the sector will be a White Paper, emphasising the importance of the sector and a pathway to increased productivity and profitability.
“As a farmer myself, and as Shadow Minister for Agriculture for over five years, I’m well aware of the issues facing our farmers, our processors and our suppliers. It’s been too hard for too long and it’s time government lent a hand.
“There has been a dramatic increase in the cost of production and a collapse in profitable trade policies, both of which have been significantly influenced by the alliance between the Labor Party and The Greens.
“After six long years of neglect and anti-agricultural policies under Labor, the Coalition’s framework reflects a commitment to the future prosperity of Australian agriculture. It is this profit that will underpin food security.”
Mr Cobb said while Australia is not the world’s biggest food producer, it is one of the biggest exporters and we have an enormous role to play in meeting the domestic food shortfalls of other countries and setting global benchmarks in productivity and production methods.
“The Coalition’s plan for Agriculture provides a solid policy framework focused on increasing research and development, abolishing the carbon tax, improving trade access and driving a Department dedicated to industry prosperity,” he said.
“We will help farmers help themselves.”
The Coalition will provide funding towards the following key initiatives:
Research and Development (R&D)
Increase the Federal government’s contribution to R&D by $100 million.
Commit $15 million in the form of rebates to small exporters for Export Certification registration costs.
Commit $20 million to strengthen biosecurity and quarantine, establish a Biosecurity Flying Squad as a first response unit and create a first response biosecurity and containment fund to tackle alien pest and disease incursions.
Minor use chemical registration
Provide $8 million towards minor use chemical permits to increase access to new technology and safe, effective pest and disease control options.
Allocate $2 million dollars over four years to assist with the integration of agriculture into school curriculums.
Native title respondent funding
Provide $2.2 million over two years from the Caring for Our Country/Landcare programme to fund Native title respondent funding for the equitable finalisation of existing native title claims.
A complete video of their speeches (minus Q & A) is now posted on our YouTube site at: http://www.youtube.com/user/NSWFarmWriters?feature=watch
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