Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 20 November, 2012

Time ticking on Basin Plan

At the NFF Congress in Canberra last month, the Prime Minister committed to getting "the job done" on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in 2012. With only one sitting week remaining until Parliament rises for the summer break, time is running out for Minister Burke to introduce the Basin Plan into Parliament.

With potentially only days remaining until the Basin Plan is finalised, the NFF has reiterated its call for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and ultimately the Federal Parliament, to find the correct balance between the social, economic and environmental needs of the Basin.

The Government has committed to delivering a Plan that supports strong regional communities, ensures sustainable food production and delivers healthy rivers - and it must now deliver that balance.

For more, read the NFF's Basin Plan submissions.

Missed Congress? Catch up here

Missed the NFF's 2012 National Congress in Canberra last month? Didn't catch the Prime Minister call Australia an "agricultural powerhouse"? Or hear the Opposition Leader say that it "was only because of growth in the agricultural sector that we avoided going into recession as part of the global financial crisis"?

Catch up on all you missed at Congress, including the key speeches, presentations and photos by visiting the Congress website today.

Animal welfare our no. 1 priority

Australia's livestock export industry has restated its continued commitment to improving animal welfare ahead of next week's final sitting of Parliament.

We, like all Australians, were shocked by the footage of healthy Australian sheep being brutally killed by Pakistani authorities - which is why the livestock export industry took decisive action when the issue occurred in September, to voluntarily suspend sheep exports to Bahrain and Pakistan.

Importantly, animal welfare is the key priority for Australia's livestock export industry. Australia is the only country, of the more than 100 countries across the world that export livestock, that actively works in overseas markets to help improve animal welfare conditions. Quite simply, if Australia was to stop exporting livestock, global animal welfare standards would decline.

For more information on livestock exports and the work Australia performs overseas, visit the support live exports page.

Renewable energy? Not at a cost

The NFF has backed calls to remove renewable energy targets due to the increased pressure on Australian farms from rising energy prices.

Energy and fuel are among the largest costs for Australian farmers, and have a significant impact on our competitiveness. The recent spike in electricity prices, combined with the major increase in fuel prices over the last decade, continue to hit the agricultural sector hard, with irrigation, dairy and grain farmers among the most affected.

We believe any policy that simply adds additional costs back into our businesses should be removed - and the renewable energy targets are one of these. The Productivity Commission has
made it very clear that the introduction of the carbon tax means that a significant number of existing Government programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving efficiency, including renewable energy targets, now impose costs while providing little or no benefit.

It has recommended the renewable energy target policy be terminated, and we agree. For more, read our release.

Farmers: Native Veg managers

The NFF has welcomed the release of a report by ABARES that shows that farmers are playing a vital role in managing Australia's native vegetation to help boost production.

The report found that 85 percent of farmers are gaining on-farm production and environmental benefits, with most indicating they want to do even more to help manage native vegetation due to the benefits gained.

The report comes a few weeks after Minister Burke released the National Wildlife Corridors Plan - a Plan the NFF has been actively working on with Government. For farmers, four things are critical in the Plan: that it does not result in yet more regulation or red tape; that land title will not be changed as a result of a corridor declaration; that all conservation efforts undertaken by farmers are voluntary, and that fire, pests and weeds are managed by those implementing the corridors.

Importantly, funding is available for farmers for ecosystem and biodiversity management and pest and weed control, as a step towards rewarding farmers for the work they do in protecting our natural environment. For more, contact the NFF's Environment Liaison Officer, Jol Taber.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 28

In this issue

Time ticking on Basin Plan

Missed Congress? Catch up here

Animal welfare our no. 1 priority

Renewable energy? Not at a cost

Farmers: Native Veg managers

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