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Farming & politics in the spotlight

23 August 2010

WITH three regional Independent MPs thrust into the role of deciding the next federal government, agricultural policies will be forefront in the minds of all political parties. Whichever way the cards fall over the days and weeks ahead, farming issues and policies will be under intense scrutiny.

The timing couldn’t be more critical for all political parties to reinforce their vision for Australia’s farm sector, with the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) 2010 National Congress just two weeks away – running over 6-7 September in Melbourne.

As things stand with caretaker conventions still in place, 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, putting agricultural policies front-and-centre.

Their titles may change, but 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.

Day Two of the Congress will see Federal Water Minister Penny Wong 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.

Will the next federal government get the agriculture and environment balance right? At National Congress we’ll find out.

This will be a high profile, high octane event, affording opportunities for the major parties to canvass their policy intent and put those attending the Congress ringside in making up their own minds.

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 decision makers.

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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