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Agriculture Has Not Had Enough Attention this Election Campaign Says the National Farmers’ Federation

Farmers are disappointed by a lack of political focus on the agricultural sector during the federal election campaign.

The National Farmers’ Federation on Monday released a voting guide on how major party policies stack up for their members, compared to its own election manifesto.

“There’s a little bit of a mixed bag in terms of what the parties have committed to,” CEO Tony Mahar said.

“We’re a little bit disappointed that we haven’t had more of a focus on agriculture and rural and regional communities particularly.”

The federation consulted with farmers, industry and regional voters about their priorities, and then ranked the parties on policies from rewarding environmental performance, to climate change, and international reputation.

Recognising and rewarding farmers for their land management is a subject somewhat overlooked by the major parties, he said. And while there has been much said about climate change, the policies are still lacking, Mr Mahar added.

The federation wants to ensure a transition to net zero doesn’t burden farmers with regulation or extra costs, and called for $2 billion over four years to support the expansion of schemes like carbon and biodiversity programs.

Farmers ranked the coalition the highest for rewarding farmers for their environmental performance, specifically over its commitment to the national biodiversity stewardship market.

Labor and the coalition rated well for digital innovation while the greens and the coalition outperformed Labor on their plans to bolster international agricultural workers.

“Early in the campaign, Labor put the brakes on a solution to farmers’ workforce woes by all but scrapping the NFF-led ag visa. The coalition continues to support the ag visa…the Greens also back the visa,” said NFF president Fiona Simson.

She said farmers and small business remain shocked by the coalition’s strong indication it won’t continue the instant asset write-off after 2023, while Labor hasn’t indicated its position.

The federation said it’s disappointed by Labor’s intention to end live sheep exports, while it commended the major parties for their commitment to biosecurity funding.

But the voting guide has left the Greens disappointed after the federation ranked them behind Labor and the coalition on their response to climate change.

“We feel like we’ve been dudded,” said Greens agriculture spokesperson Peter Whish-Wilson.

“We’ve got very ambitious climate targets and very detailed ones too, so that’s very odd,”

“It isn’t a fair assessment of the Green’s policies and leadership…particularly in relation to climate action, competition policy and regional development,” he said.

He urged farmers to do their own research.

In response to the farmer’s voting guide the coalition said it had released a plan for agriculture, fisheries and forestry while Labor had not.

A government spokesperson said there is new funding for programmes including a $75 million future farmer guarantee, a livestock Genebank, increased investment for farm safety and additional funding for the wine industry.

“We will also work with industry to grow the organic industry and address competition issues.”


“Our plan and commitment to our primary industries are clear.”

“Labor … has promised to end the live sheep trade and to kill off the Ag Visa.”

Labor did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: https://7news.com.au/business/agriculture/farming-sector-out-of-political-focus-c-6808506

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