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Faux campaign finally canned, now for the real deal

14 October 2007

FEDERAL Labor goes into the election campaign-proper with a healthy lead in the polls. It is now critical that all political parties demonstrate, in specific detail, their plans for the future of Australia’s vital agricultural base.

“In its pre-election positioning Labor has already reflected parts of NFF’s 2007 Federal Election Policy Platform (released 19 September),” NFF President David Crombie said. “We’re pleased by that. They’ve seized upon several of our issues, such as drought management and preparedness and transport efficiency.

“However, to-date we have seen little detail on these issues and must consider more than rhetoric to make a sensible assessment. On the other hand, we are yet to hear anything from the Coalition on many of our specific issues. We are equally keen to consider their vision and policy for the future of Australian agriculture.

“Before polling day, the NFF expects specific public commitments and responses to our election platform, not generalities or motherhood statements. Farmers and rural Australians deserve to know exactly what policies an incoming government – of whichever persuasion – would enact.

“This election shapes as a fascinating clash of ideas and ideals, a contest we have not seen in Australian politics in many years. And modern farming is fundamentally intertwined within the leading issues of the day.

“Economic performance and international competitiveness; labour force and its education and training; climate change, water reform and environmental-sustainability all transcend politics to define who we are, and where we are going, as Australians.

“While the nation remains in the grip of the worst drought on record, Australian farmers are getting on with the job of smart farming. The NFF has identified real solutions through new drought management and preparedness initiatives, looking for innovative research to address climate change, sensible water reform to meet metro and regional needs and always looking to sustainable environmental management.

“Agriculture, perhaps more than any other sector, is directly exposed to the impact of a changing climate, fluctuating world markets and international trade barriers. World-class transport infrastructure and telecommunication technologies are also essential to a vibrant agricultural sector.

“The NFF wants a commitment from all sides of politics to work strategically, in partnership with farmers, to help meet these challenges. We are proposing nation-building advances in the way Australia deals with drought, climate change, water reform and industrial relations, to list a few.

“We are advancing a proactive, sustainable way forward. Over the next six weeks we will actively evaluate who has the vision to work with us.”

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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