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Next government to be grilled at NFF National Congress

2 August 2010

WHOEVER wins the federal election on August 21, the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF’s) 2010 National Congress in Melbourne over 6-7 September will place attendees ringside as political heavyweights slug it out over agriculture and the major issues affecting the farm sector.

Policies directly impacting Australia’s farmers will be centre stage at the NFF’s second annual National Congress as federal ministers and opposition parties square off in two headline debates.

“Their respective titles may change in the weeks ahead, but are any of our politicians headed in the right direction?” NFF President David Crombie mused.

“Whichever way their political fortunes fall on Election Day, Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke will go toe-to-toe with his Shadow, National Party MP John Cobb, and Australian Greens’ Deputy Leader Senator Christine Milne.

“Each will share their vision for Australia’s farming future and discuss the issues and priorities they think are needed to take the sector, and Australia, forward over the next three years.

“This is a unique opportunity for farmers, agribusiness leaders, agricultural teachers and students, whole-of-chain partners and experts across the broad spectrum of agriculture to hear first-hand from key decision-makers, quiz them and judge their responses.

“Kicking off Day 2 of the Congress Program, Federal Water Minister Penny Wong will explain the Government’s water reform agenda and how it impacts farmers, while Opposition Water Spokesman Senator Barnaby Joyce and South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon will address their alternative approaches and issues.

“The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s delayed release of information outlining the draft Basin Plan until after the election has raised eyebrows and caused greater uncertainty. With a decision on the release now scheduled for late-August, we will put the Basin Plan under the microscope.

“Will the next federal government get the agriculture and environmental balance right? At National Congress we’ll find out. This will be a high profile, high octane event, affording opportunities for all sides of politics to canvass their policy intent and put those attending the Congress ringside in making up their own minds. It also affords fascinating insight into the people making the decisions and what drives them.

“Post-election, this is the perfect opportunity for all involved in agriculture to hear where our leaders are headed and why they think we should follow them. Their decisions do and will affect farmers and agricultural production for years to come.

“Each session at the National Congress includes 20 minutes for questions from the floor, so delegates – farmers and others attending – can put their questions directly to these political heavy-hitters. It’s an opportunity to be relished.

“Now is the time to lock in your place at this major event.”

The NFF’s 2010 National Congress runs over 6-7 September at The Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. All details, including registration and the full Congress Program, are available from the official Congress website.

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