Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Parliament resumes in Canberra

Today marks the first sitting day of the 44th Parliament in Canberra, and the return to a period of intense advocacy by the NFF and our members.

Foreign investment and the carbon tax are two of the key issues on the agenda this week, and the NFF will be walking the halls of Parliament House to ensure the farmers' voice is heard on these, and other, critical issues as Parliament resumes.

Four sitting weeks are scheduled for the end of 2013, with important meetings scheduled for NFF President Duncan Fraser, Vice President Brent Finlay and CEO Matt Linnegar with a host of senior Ministers, Shadow Ministers and key advisors.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with NFF President Duncan Fraser, courtesy Colin Bettles, Fairfax Agricultural Media

Carbon tax repeal welcome

The NFF supports the proposed repeal of the carbon tax by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, expected to be introduced to Parliament as one of the first priorities of the new Government.

The NFF supports the need to take action on climate variability, and farmers have been leading the way in reducing carbon emissions - by a massive 40 percent between 1990 and 2006 - but the NFF remains opposed to the carbon tax as it adds unnecessary costs into Australian farm businesses.

We strongly believe that agriculture has a role to play, but to reach our potential in reducing emissions, greater investment in research and development is needed to convert carbon science into on-farm action.

Farm Finance reallocation

Last week, Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce announced that he would reallocate the Farm Finance concessional loan funds, previously announced by the former Government to better reflect the number of farm businesses in each state and to ensure they were available to farmers in areas of greatest need.

The NFF welcomed the announcement as an interim measure to help farmers currently in the grip of drought - but we firmly believe any new drought policy measures should be funded from new allocations, not existing funding, and that there is an urgent need for these new measures to be finalised.

For more, read our media release.

Action needed on Infrastructure

Two years after a report released by RIRDC showed that current funding in Australia's transport infrastructure was inadequate, a new report released by ABARES confirms what we've long been saying: that ag infrastructure is going to come under increased pressure as farm productivity grows.

The report shows potential future constraints in Australia’s infrastructure system - but critically, constraints in the system are already impacting farmers now. And, if our farmers are going to stay competitive on the global market, and are going to access the opportunities ahead given the rise of Asia, then we need to ensure that the infrastructure they rely on is up to scratch.

The NFF has long called for action on infrastructure - it's now up to the Federal Government to deliver on their election commitments of a national infrastructure audit and better planning; and to commit funding. For more, read our media release.

NFF hosts Japan's peak farm body

Last week, the peak national representative bodies of two of the world's key agricultural countries - Australia and Japan - came together in Canberra to discuss the big issues facing farmers and the wider ag sector.

The NFF hosted a visit from JA Zenchu, Japan's powerful farm body, aimed at strengthening the relationship with Australia's second largest ag export market, gaining a greater understanding of key challenges, and discussing key issues.

The 14-strong JA Zenchu delegation visited an ACT sheep and cattle property, and held meetings with the NFF and our members, plus the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Upcoming Events

> NFF Members' Council and AGM
The NFF Members' Council and AGM will take place in Canberra next Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 November. Members' Council is the peak policy setting forum for the NFF, and brings together the key farm industry leaders and decision makers - the Presidents and CEOs of the NFF's 27 member bodies.

> Blueprint for Australian Agriculture Forum
The NFF will host the second Blueprint for Australian Agriculture forum next month, in conjunction with Blueprint partners Westpac, Woolworths, Bayer and Syngenta Australia. The forum, which will take place in Canberra on Thursday 12 December, brings together key industry leaders and decision makers to drive the Blueprint forward. For more information, contact the NFF on 02 6269 5666 or download your copy of the Blueprint here.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 44

In this issue

Parliament resumes in Canberra

Carbon tax repeal welcome

Farm Finance reallocation

Action needed on Infrastructure

NFF hosts Japan's peak farm body

Upcoming Events

NFF Members' Council and AGM

Blueprint for Australian Agriculture Forum

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