Nationals Senator Fiona Nash questioned Labor’s commitment to agriculture, with a track record of neglecting the sector.
“Just this morning is the latest example with the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, not even mentioning agriculture as among those industries significant to the national economy, that are facing challenges,” she said.
The Treasurer said during a doorstop: `…Our number one concern is jobs and I spoke at length in this discussion in the caucus yesterday and I made the point that we have a strong economy, we do have a low unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent but there are stresses and strains in our economy at the same time which flow particularly from the higher Australian dollar. So we’ve got stresses in the auto industry, we’ve got challenges in the tourism industry, we’ve got challenges in the education export industry, all of those things can happen at the same time in an economy which is growing at trend but which is experiencing growing pains in other parts of the economy and our task is to deal with both of those things….’
“The agriculture sector doesn’t rate a mention despite generating $155 billion-a-year in production and underpinning 12% of GDP
,” Senator Nash said.
“Further, today, my colleague and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, John Cobb, reveals the federal department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) new mission statement dismisses agriculture. It just says ‘We work to sustain the way of life and prosperity of all Australians’. This statement is weak and directionless.”
Other examples of the government’s neglect of agriculture include:
- Mismanaging and delaying water reform that’s created angst and uncertainty in Murray Darling Basin communities.
- Introducing a carbon tax that will increase farming costs.
- Failure to talk to Middle Eastern countries about export accreditation changes for live exports in the lead up to the deadline, which threatened to stall the $200 million live sheep trade. This follows the damaging live export suspension last year.
- A ten-fold increase in foreign investment under Labor, in the last three years.
- Failure to spend one cent of the $1.5 million allocated to the management and control of the damaging Myrtle Rust disease.
- Failure to adequately respond to grower concerns about New Zealand apple import protocols.
“2012 is the Australian Year of the Farmer. The Labor government must start taking agriculture seriously – it’s the least our farmers deserve.”
There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.