Friday 21 February, 2014
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's rural tour last week gave farmers an opportunity to tell their stories about the impact of the current drought. During his visit to Longreach - where he was joined by NFF President Brent Finlay - the Prime Minister publicly acknowledged that Australian farmers are mainstays of our future and assistance would likely be forthcoming to help those affected by the current drought.
Agriculture is a bright light of the Australian economy, contributing $48 billion in 2013, and receives less government assistance than any other nation. Drought, as with any other natural disaster, requires a response from government and industry - a mix of preparation and in-event action.
In the past week, the NFF has released its proposed Drought Relief Package. The Package includes a range of recommendations, including farm-labour wage assistance, realistic eligibility criteria for existing programs, and the improvement of social services. Further information is available here.
While work continues to strive towards ensuring the longer-term viability of farm enterprises, the NFF has provided to government what is believed to be a sensible and responsible immediate relief package. We look forward to an appropriate response from the government.
The full text of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) has this week been made publicly available. The agreement, which is yet to be formally ratified by the respective parliaments, is expected to be a strong deal for Australian farmers, and more broadly, the agricultural sector.
The KAFTA will see the elimination of prohibitive tariffs, greater than 550 percent in some cases. Once the KAFTA is fully implemented, 98 percent of Australia's agricultural exports to Korea will be subject to a total tariff reduction - a great result for many Australian farmers, with gains to sectors including beef, sugar, dairy and wheat.
This week, NFF President Brent Finlay will travel to Singapore where he will lead a delegation of Australian commodity representatives for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, ensuring agriculture is well positioned on the nation's trade agenda. For more, read our media release
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, is urging people from NSW with a passion for agriculture to contribute to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process. People with big ideas, enthusiasm and knowledge of the industry should put forward their ideas to create a stronger, more profitable and more sustainable agricultural sector.
This week talks in Tasmania wrapped up, and in the coming weeks, the White Paper Taskforce will visit Tamworth, Dubbo, Goulburn, Lismore, Griffith and Albury for further consultations. For more information, visit the website.
We're pleased to report that our Farm Sector Employment Survey has received an overwhelming amount of response from farmers right across Australia - helping us to paint an accurate picture of the employment challenges facing the agricultural sector.
We would like to thank all participants for their contribution, and for making the survey a great success! Further details on the survey will be made available soon.
NFF CEO Matt Linnegar earned $2700 for charity, working wonders on the barbecue in this year's CEO CookOFF. Querying his celebrity chef partner, Massimo, while he carefully turned the meat patties, Matt continued campaigning for Australian farmers: "Do you know where this food comes from?"
A big thank you to everyone who donated!
Matt at this year's CEOs CookOff
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