Fighting for our farmers' future

Thursday 11 July 2013

New Minister drives Farm Finance forward

Australia's new Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, has today announced that Queensland has signed up to the Federal Government's Farm Finance package.

The Minister, who is today in his 11th day on the job, has pushed forward the package, which was announced 11 weeks ago by his predecessor, Senator Ludwig.

NFF Vice President Brent Finlay was with Minister Fitzgibbon, his QLD counterpart, Minister McVeigh, and AgForce President Ian Burnett in Emerald today, where the announcement was made. The NFF has welcomed the news, but urged the governments to quickly finalise the administrative arrangements that will allow farmers to access concessional loans of up to $650,000 to help manage their debt.

The NFF has also urged the other State and Territory Governments to sign up to the Farm Finance package, with dry conditions and debt levels impacting on farmers right across the country. For more, read our media release.

Pictured below, President of NFF member AgForce, Ian Burnett, with Minister Fitzgibbon and Minister McVeigh in Emerald today. Photo via FarmOnline.

A week: A long time in politics!

Last week, the new Federal Ministry was sworn in, following the change in the Labor leadership that saw the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP restored as Australia's Prime Minister.

The NFF has welcomed the new Ministers to their portfolios, including:

  • Minister Joel Fitzgibbon (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)
  • Minister Anthony Albanese (Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Broadband and Communications)
  • Minister Bill Shorten (Minister for School Education)
  • Minister Kim Carr (Minister for Higher Education, Innovation, Industry, Science and Research)
  • Minister Mark Butler (Minister for Climate Change and Environment)
  • Minister Brendan O’Connor (Minister for Employment, Skills and Training), and
  • Minister Sharon Bird (Minister for Regional Development and Regional Communications).

For more, read our media release.

Hampers deliver Election message

In the final sitting week of the Federal Parliament, the NFF delivered an important message to Federal MPs and Senators in the form of Aussie produce hampers.

With the Federal Election looming, the hampers, full of Australian made and grown food and fibre, were delivered to Parliament along with a message about the importance of Australian agriculture to our society, economy and environment and the need to 'Vote 1: Agriculture' in the pending Federal Election.

The hampers included cotton towels, sugar and golden syrup, olive oil, tinned peaches, honey, rice, sultanas, flavoured milks, jam, apples, wool key rings, beef jerky, and other items such as lamb recipes - all kindly donated or supplied by our members and key Australian produce suppliers - and were very well received by MPs and Senators.

With the date of the Federal Election now to be confirmed, the NFF will continue to work with all sides of Parliament to ensure farmers' voices are heard.

Pictured below, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, the Hon. John Cobb MP, with Senator Bridget McKenzie and the NFF's General Manager, Policy, Tony Mahar.

Farmers reveg 70 million hectares

A new report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that Australian farmers revegetated almost 70 million hectares of agricultural land in 2011-12.

70 million hectares is 10 percent of Australia’s landmass, or almost the size of NSW – all of which, says the ABS report, has had its vegetation protected or regenerated by farmers for the purposes of livestock production and for environmental protection, which shows that agricultural productivity and looking after the environment can go hand in hand.

A second report, also by the ABS, has found that almost one third of Australian agricultural businesses set aside 8.4 million
hectares, or an area bigger than Tasmania, on their own properties for conservation – and where natural environments exist, over half of all these businesses protect these areas for conversation purposes.

For more, see the ABS reports here and here, or read our media release.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 37

In this issue

New Minister drives Farm Finance forward

A week: A long time in politics!

Hampers deliver Election message

Farmers reveg 70 million hectares

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