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Election 2019: NFF supports commitments for farm safety, workforce planning, young farmers & water

2 May 2019

The National Farmers Federation has welcomed wide-ranging commitments by the Coalition to agriculture today.

"Most importantly, we herald the pledge to direct $3.5 million to the longevity and growth of organisations like Farmsafe Australia," NFF CEO Mr Mahar said.

"The commitment is a tick for a key priority identified by the NFF in our election priorities: to establish a national farm safety education fund to properly resources bodies such as Farmsafe."

"Agriculture is nothing, without the safety and well-being of our farmers and farm workers and the importance of this announcement can’t be understated."

Mr Mahar said the Coalition's previously-announced $1.9 million for a new National Agricultural Workforce Strategy, supported by an Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee, recognised the crucial need for a cross-government approach to labour.

"The issue of getting workers onto farms requires engagement from portfolios such as employment, education and immigration as well as agriculture.

"Provided there is genuine engagement with industry and a recognition of its needs, this a welcome step. However we will not stop our calls for an agriculture-specific visa which must be part of the solution to this ongoing problem."

Mr Mahar said the proposed extension of the work of the newly formed Regional Investment Corporation to provide 'AgriStarter' loans for new farmers to help them purchase a majority share or total share of a farm is a good proactive initiative that should complement respective state-based schemes.

"We know many young people are eager to pursue a life on the land, but getting a start in farming, without generational interests, can be very difficult.

"The loan has the potential to turn dreams into a reality and attract new, multi-skilled people to our industry which is crucial to the sector achieving our $100-billion-by-2030 target."

Mr Mahar said the NFF also supported a proposed analysis by the ACCC of the southern basin water market.

"We are in favour of increased transparency and the continual improvement of the Murray Darkling Basin Plan."

The NFF also welcomed $10 million for drought-affected farmers to manage pests and weeds – problems that are compounded by drought. This new funding would help farmers better manage this drought and be more prepared to scale up operations when the rain comes.

The Coalition’s plan to develop a new 2030 Protected Horticulture Strategy, if elected, will ensure Australia’s burgeoning horticulture sector will be better placed to meet its export potential. Horticulture has been identified as a key sector that can contribute to the NFF's $100 billion goal.

"In principle, today’s announcements are very positive and we look forward to seeing more detail.

"In the meantime, we continue to wait for a commitment to a Government-led National Agricultural Strategy, that lines up with the NF- led industry 2030 Roadmap for a $100 billion industry," Mr Mahar said.

Explore our Agriculture: Growing Australian election priorities at farmers.org.au.

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
0408 448 250

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