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Farmers call for a vision for agriculture

11 November 2007

WITH just two weeks to go until election-day, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling on both sides of politics to outline their vision for the future of Australian agriculture.

"To date, rural Australians have heard little mention of agriculture in this federal election campaign," NFF President David Crombie stated today.

"We are talking about a sector of the Australian economy that generates $103 billion annually in GDP taking into account the supply-chain value, supports around 1.6 million Australian jobs, and provides over half the food Australians consume every day.

"Both sides of politics must seize the opportunity to lay down a comprehensive policy that recognises agriculture – not to mention the hundreds of rural and regional communities across the nation it supports - is vital to Australia’s economic, environmental and social future.

"A changing climate is potentially the biggest risk facing Australian farmers, who are stewards of over 60% of Australia’s landmass.

"We are seeking new initiatives and clearly articulated policy that will reduce the potential risks associated with climate change and capitalise on the opportunities for new farm systems and emissions trading schemes.

"The NFF is calling for a generational shift in thinking on how the country deals with drought. We seek a commitment from an incoming Government to work with farmers on developing a new cooperative partnership, investing and working together to better drought-proof Australia today to secure all our futures tomorrow.

"There is no more important issue to Australian farmers, and indeed all Australians, than water. As a matter of priority, the NFF is calling on all political parties to progress the National Plan for Water Security with a commitment to engage closely with farmers in the implementation of the Plan.

"Australia’s favourable pest and disease free status is a vital foundation for the farming sector. The NFF seeks a seamless science-based and robust continuum of pre-border, border and post-border quarantine measures.

"Modern Australian farmers want to work in partnership with Government to meet current and future challenges to ensure we have a productive and sustainable future.

"A vacant landscape is not the answer. We need a clear direction and commitment from our leaders on the key issues for the farm sector.

"It is time for both sides to step up and lay out their visions for the future of Australian agriculture.”

[ENDS]

The NFF’s 2007 Federal Election Policy Platform is available here.

Media Enquiries: Emma Keogh on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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