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Coalition ag policy lacks vision on key issues: NFF

13 November 2007

THE future of Australian agriculture depends on how we, as a nation, deal with the key issues of a changing climate, drought and water scarcity today, and on the creation of a viable plan for the future, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) declared today.

"The NFF and our members have a vision for a modern, profitable and sustainable agriculture sector. Both sides of politics must now take the opportunity to form partnerships and work together with farmers to meet these challenges head-on," NFF President David Crombie said.

"In fact, agriculture, perhaps more than any other sector, is directly exposed to the impact of climate variability, fluctuating world markets and international trade barriers. Robust research and development, world-class transport infrastructure and targeted education and training are also essential for a sustainable future."

The Coalition today announced a range of constructive initiatives that will assist farmers to break into new international markets, combat weeds and access safe farm chemicals. The NFF is also positive about commitments made on pests and feral animals, food processing, the Environmental Stewardship Programme as well as the Coalition’s support for Australian live export trade.

"Australian farmers need a robust, science-based and transparent quarantine system that, to the best extent possible, protects the nation from human, animal and plant diseases. Should the Coalition be re-elected, the NFF will fully engage in the announced review into Australia’s quarantine system as many farmers lack confidence in the current arrangements.

"On-going management of weeds poses a significant cost to farmers, while also affecting native ecosystems. The allocation of $30 million towards greater research and development and management at a local level is a prudent and practical measure.

"However, farmers across Australia are eager to see policies on the critical issues of drought preparedness, climate change and water, as they specifically relate to agriculture. It is disappointing that these have not been outlined today.

"The NFF strongly believes that modern farming in Australia is innovative, ultra-efficient and competitive, vital to the economy and, just as importantly, environmentally-responsible and sustainable.

"We seek a commitment to our vision, to work hand-in-hand with farmers to better prepare for and manage future droughts. On climate change, farmers require new initiatives that capitalise on opportunities for new farm systems and emissions trading schemes, while also reducing potential risks.

"We also seek a commitment for Government to work constructively with farmers to progress water reform through the National Plan for Water Security to ensure effective and efficient water supply to rural and metropolitan users alike.

"The NFF is now calling for the release of detailed policy on these key issues, so that farmers can make an informed judgement on the Coalition’s overall plan for the future of Australian agriculture."

[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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