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A push for profitability: agriculture representatives converge in Canberra

18 March 2014

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Members’ Council met in Canberra this week as part of its regular consultation with representatives from each of the State Member Organisations, Commodity Councils and Associate Members.

NFF President, Mr Brent Finlay, outlined the key issues affecting the industry, and the main areas of focus for the NFF and members into the immediate future. Issues high on the agenda at the meeting included: trade, infrastructure, drought policy reform and two of the Government consultation processes currently underway.

“From what our members are saying, profitability inside the farm gate is at the heart of Australian agribusiness, benefiting the entire supply-chain and rural communities,” Mr Finlay said.

“I’ve heard much about sustainability over the past decades, and while it is important to ensure our agricultural industries operate in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, we can only continue to operate if we are profitable.

“While our export opportunities continue to grow, we must ensure profits inside the farm gate enable our agribusinesses to remain competitive on the world stage,” Mr Finlay said.

Crucial to ensuring profitable farming enterprises is a concerted emphasis on obtaining a good deal for Australian agriculture from the bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations that are currently underway.

“The NFF will continue to advocate a strong ‘team Australian agriculture’ approach to trade agreements. Trade deals must be good for agriculture. There are numerous factors that impact on farm-gate profitability—either directly or indirectly,” Mr Finlay said.

“We are continuing to work with Government on a wide range of areas including trade, infrastructure development and drought policy reform. We need longer-term commitment to ensure there isn’t policy development on the run. The worst time to develop a drought policy is in a drought.

“There are two major Government reviews that provide a great opportunity for us to continue to work with our members to drive the recommendations from the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture—the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, and the Northern Australia White Paper,” Mr Finlay said.

The NFF has a new committee structure, endorsed by the Members’ Council, to develop strong policies for the agricultural sector and to prosecute against those policies. For further information on representation and submissions relating to the NFF committees and taskforces, refer to the NFF website www.nff.org.au

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