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A strong vision for Australian farmers

20 October 2014

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the release of the Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper, unveiled at the NFF’s 2014 National Congress by Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP in Canberra today.

“We are lucky to have an Agriculture Minister with such a passion for the agriculture sector. The Minister has clearly been instrumental in guiding the development of a strong vision for farmers and the broader agribusiness chain,” NFF President Brent Finlay said.

The Green Paper identifies nine policy principles, including greater returns to the farm gate, secure futures for family farms, infrastructure for the 21st century and a stronger voice for Australian farmers.

“Australian agriculture needs certainty for the long-term, so that we can invest in our businesses and our futures. This in turn, benefits the Australian economy as a whole,” Mr Finlay said.

“The Green Paper builds on many of the NFF policy priorities, including rebalancing competition policy, support for drought-affected farmers, greater access to labour, reform of coastal shipping and removing unnecessary regulation in work health and safety laws.

“The commitment to further explore water infrastructure opportunities around Australia is an important acknowledgement that infrastructure investment, including in water, must continue to grow to promote increased capacity and development in Australia’s rural and regional areas,” Mr Finlay said.

The NFF will carefully consider the policy ideas in the Green Paper, to understand what will work and what needs more work. Above all, solutions must create a platform for greater profitability and competitiveness. The NFF will work closely with government to ensure that what becomes the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper will deliver policy settings for a productive future.

“Of course, great policy ideas will only deliver tangible results with proper resourcing. A key part of the Government’s work between now and the release of the White Paper is to commit to funding sector-based initiatives so that we can turn ideas into action,” Mr Finlay said.

The NFF calls on all sides of government to adopt a bipartisan approach to ensure that policy settings arising from the Green Paper process translate into real and sustainable outcomes for Australian farmers.

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