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Rudd’s 'education revolution' fails vital test

21 November 2007

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is bewildered by Labor’s plan to dump the highly successful and increasingly strategic ‘Advancing Australian Agriculture’ (AAA) FarmBis program.

“Labor Leader Kevin Rudd talks about the importance of education and training and of an ‘education revolution’ platform, but is axing a program that trains farmers to improve their skills and capacity in business and natural resource management,” NFF President David Crombie said.

“In responding to Labor’s agriculture statement, the NFF sought clarification from Labor that their new agriculture commitments would not be funded at the expense of existing successful programs.

“That assurance has not been forthcoming. Indeed, after carefully reviewing budget papers, it has emerged that rather than “reprioritise” some programs, Labor is actually shutting down the FarmBis program.

“Labor has simply repackaged and redistributed existing budgeted monies and canned one of the most successful and growing programs, FarmBis, which provides vital business and environmental training to over 150,000 farm businesses.

“While the NFF is encouraged by Labor’s commitment to work with farmers in meeting the challenge of a changing climate, this must not be at the expense of existing, successful programs. You can’t just rob Peter to pay Paul.

“Modern Australian farmers need to constantly upgrade their skills and capacity to tackle the big issues affecting us all over the next decade.

“Labor has either forgotten or overlooked this key initiative to build better, more astute and environmentally-sustainable farm businesses – neither is acceptable.”

[ENDS]

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

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