Securing long-awaited Free Trade Agreements with vital export markets including Japan, Korea and China is one of the priority issues farmers are hoping will be addressed under the newly elected Tony Abbott-led Coalition Government.
In congratulating the Coalition on its election win on Saturday night, the NFF has continued to emphasise the need for agriculture to remain a priority as the real work begins post-election.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Coalition in government, and are ready to work with Prime Minister Abbott and his team to continue the important work that needs to be done to ensure our agriculture sector remains profitable and competitive,” NFF President Duncan Fraser said.
“The NFF has made it very clear in the lead up to the election where the priorities for food, fibre and agriculture lie. It is critical for the sector that there is continued investment in innovation, research, development and extension (RD&E); that we continue to ensure that agriculture is globally competitive; that the farming workforce is developed to address the growing labour shortages in the sector; and that we continue to work to ensure our natural resources are managed while also increasing agricultural production.
“The need for agriculture to be reprioritised on the national agenda remains as strong as ever, and during the election campaign we saw both major parties make varying levels of commitment to ensure that this is the case,” Mr Fraser said. “It is now time for the Coalition government to turn their promises into action.”
The Coalition’s agriculture policies announced during the election included promises to:
- Remove red tape;
- Complete trade agreements including a meaningful outcome for agriculture;
- Invest $100 million in agricultural innovation, RD&E;
- Reinstate $2.2 million in native title respondent funding;
- Invest $15 million in helping small exporters meet the costs of trade;
- Invest $8 million in minor use chemical permits to increase access for farmers;
- Commit $2 million to agricultural education, to help embed agriculture in the national curriculum; and
- Invest $100 million in improving mobile phone coverage for rural and regional communities.
“The NFF has warmly welcomed these announcements over the past weeks, and now we look to the Government to make real change,” Mr Fraser said.
“With the election behind us, the real work begins, and we look forward to working with the incoming Government to put these plans to action and to ensure food, fibre and agriculture become not just a pillar of our economy, as the Coalition has promised, but part of the fabric of government within Australian society,” Mr Fraser said.
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