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A changing climate a challenge for farmers: NFF

20 November 2007

AUSTRALIAN farmers recognise that the threat of a changing climate is potentially the biggest issue they will face in the future. The commitment by the Labor Party to work closely with farmers to adapt to a changing climate is a clear recognition of the importance of this issue to rural and regional Australians.

"Farmers need access to the right tools to effectively manage the risks and capitalise on the opportunities of a changing climate.We are pleased the Labor party have committed to work with farmers on this challenge and have highlighted the issue in their agriculture statement," National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie said.

"The NFF is also pleased bipartisan support has been given for the current drought relief package. We have made it clear that any work on the challenges of a changing climate should recognise those farmers in the grip of this current, devastating drought crisis.

"Today the Labor Party also reiterated a range of constructive initiatives to assist farmers combat weeds, innovate in food processing and their support to work with farmers near the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

"The NFF is also positive about Labor’s commitment to the crucial rural Research and Development (R&D) model. A robust R&D program, enabling a sector that accounts for 20% of Australia’s export income to keep pace with developments is crucial.

"A robust, science based quarantine system is a vital component of the Australian agricultural system. There is a lack of confidence in the current arrangements and NFF will fully engage in the proposed Labor Party review of the system, if elected. The NFF believes it is essential to rebuild confidence in Australia’s Biosecurity arrangements.

"On Genetic Modification (GM), the Labor Party could have taken a stronger leadership position, given the strength of the robust regulatory framework and the industry management systems already in place pre-farm, on-farm and post-farm.

"There are clear productivity and environmental benefits that will flow from GM, and Australian farmers are well placed to responsibly harness the enormous opportunities gene technology offers. The NFF supports farmers having the opportunity to adopt the method of production best suited to their customers’ needs – be that GM, conventional, organic or any combination of these methods.

"While NFF is pleased the Labor Party has highlighted some priority areas for farmers, it is disappointing that no new funding has been allocated to the primary industries portfolio. By using existing program funding, the NFF seeks an assurance that successful programs such as FarmBis are in no way adversely affected."

[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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