2019 Federal election

Commitment Tracker

This election, the National Farmers’ Federation wants you to make an informed choice about which parties have the strongest plan for agriculture and regional Australia. This Commitment Tracker provides a snapshot of where the parties stand on the priorities highlighted by our Agriculture: Growing Australia election campaign.

Use the links below to explore how commitments by the major parties to date compare with our priorities.

While we’ve endeavoured to ensure this summary is an accurate reflection of the party’s stated positions, you may also like to explore the detailed policy statements for Labor, The Greens, and The Coalition on their own websites.

We have also sought formal responses to our priorities from each of the major parties. Click here to read the responses we’ve received in full.

Customers and the Value Chain

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Fast-track ratification of the Indonesian FTA

Labor has been unclear on whether it will ratify IA-CEPA in its current form.

The Coalition is committed to ratification ‘as soon as possible’.

The Greens will seek amendments to IA-CEPA before considering ratification.

Pursue an ambitious global trade agenda

Labor will prioritise free trade agreements with the EU and UK, plus the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Non-tariff barriers would also be a focus. It has not agreed to ratify the Peru-Australia FTA.

The Coalition will prioritise free trade agreements with the EU and UK, plus the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Non-tariff barriers would also be a focus. It has agreed to ratify the Peru-Australia FTA.

Address transport challenges to improve our competitivness 

Labor will provide top-up funding for federal programs for upgrading local roads, bridges, roadside rest stops and safety black spots across regional Australia.

The Coalition will provide safer local roads and bridges through the Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity, and Bridges Renewal Programs.

Protect Australia’s biosecurity

Labor will implement the Craik Biosecurity Review recommendations in full, including the biosecurity imports levy, and pursue improved coordination of biosecurity research.

The Coalition will implement the Craik Biosecurity Review recommendations in full, including the biosecurity imports levy. The Coalition has committed to invest an additional $313 million in the biosecurity system over 6 years, and an additional $16 million for smarter fruit fly management.

The Greens will call for increased funding for the Indigenous Rangers Program with a target of 5,000 rangers by 2025, plus $140 million a year for a national invasive species action plan.

Maintain a sustainable live export trade

Labor has committed to end the northern summer trade of live sheep to the Middle East as soon as possible, and phase out the live sheep trade altogether within five years.

The Coalition supports a sustainable live export industry for cattle, sheep and goats and is committed to improving performance of the trade.

The Greens will ban the live export trade and transition the industry to local processing of boxed and chilled meat exports.

Take a partnership approach to animal welfare

Labor is proposing to create an Inspector General for Animal Welfare and to work with the states, territories and industry to establish an Office of Animal Welfare and a renewed Animal Welfare Strategy.

The Coalition supports the existing standards and guidelines process and will continue to strengthen regulatory arrangements in consultation with the farm sector and other stakeholders.

The Greens will enact new cruelty laws, move to end intensive animal production and establish a National Office of Animal Welfare.

Establish Regional Agriculture Deals to drive regional growth

Labor will create an Office for Regional Development and a new program of City Partnerships which will be available to regional cities.

The Coalition will continue to its ‘Regional Deals’ program.

Invest in community and customer trust

Labor will work with industry to develop certification programs so that consumers know which products have been produced in a sustainable and ethical manner.

The Coalition has committed $4 million to partner with the National Farmers’ Federation on a new Biodiversity Certification Scheme.

Growing Sustainably

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Establish a $1 billion Ecosystem Services Fund

Labor has in-principle agreed to the Coalition’s Agricultural Biodiversity Stewardship Program.

The Coalition has committed to a $30 million Agricultural Biodiversity Stewardship Program pilot. The Coalition has also committed to consider recommendations from the Craik Agriculture Review via the statutory review of the EPBC Act.

The Greens have committed to a $5 billion investment in landscape restoration, including coordinating with environmental managers employed through the Green Job Guarantee, $2 billion a year into a ‘Nature Fund’, $80 million a year into direct agricultural subsidies to improve yield per hectare without degrading the land, and $84 million a year into Landcare over the course of the next Parliament.

Bipartisan support for the Murray Darling Basin Plan

Labor will remove the cap on water buybacks, and recommence buybacks. They will also remove the current 450GL socio-economic test.

The Coalition will retain the cap on water buybacks. They will also maintain the 450GL socio-economic test.

The Greens will lift the cap on water buybacks and establish a Royal Commission into the Basin Plan.

Act on the Northern Australia Plan

Labor is seeking to better integrate its Northern Australia development agenda.

The Coalition will establish a National Water Grid, and continue to deliver the Our North, Our Future: Developing Northern Australia program.

Adequately resource the Emissions Reduction Fund

Labor will invest $40 million to establish new Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies and also abolish the Climate Solutions Fund.

The Coalition will extend the Climate Solutions Fund by $2 billion over 15 years from 2019-20.

Help farmers respond to climate change

Labor will lower the ‘safeguard mechanism’ threshold to 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, but excludes agriculture.

The Coalition will invest more than $9.2 million in 110 projects helping farmers adopt sustainable land management practices.

Implement the National Forest Industries Plan

Labor will fund all 13 of AFPA’s Regional Forestry Hubs, and remove the CFI Forestry water rule.

The Coalition will deliver $13 million for 13 Regional Forestry Hubs and $500 million in low interest loans to plantation growers.

The Greens will commit $3 million to seed funding and plan to end native forest logging immediately.

Commit to tackle food waste and insecurity

Labor will invest $60 million in the National Recycling Fund.

The Coalition will invest $203 million to increase recycling and reduce waste, protect threatened species and restore waterways and coasts.

Unlocking Innovation

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Act on the Regional Telecommunications review and fund the Mobile Black Spot Program

Labor will invest $245 million in a regional connectivity program, Mobile Black Spot Program, and regional digital skills hubs, in response to the review.

The Coalition will invest $220 million in a regional connectivity program, Mobile Black Spot Program and a digital tech hub, in response to the review.

Greens will invest $300 million into Mobile Black Spot Program over the next three years.

Maintain investment in rural research and development

Labor has indicated that it will review the RDC system including revisiting the 2012 Productivity Commission review recommendations, and consider the addition of union members to RDC boards.

The Coalition has committed to maintain investment in rural R&D, and will provide $2.9 million to drive national leadership in agricultural innovation. It will explore further reforms in line with the EY Roadmap for the Rural Innovation System.

The Greens will create a Centre for Sustainable Agriculture – an RD&E agency focused on identifying and extending best practice.

Help transition agriculture to renewable and affordable energy

Labor has proposed $10 billion to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and to have electric vehicles make up 50% of all new car sales by 2030.

The Coalition has committed $50.4 million to support the development of microgrids in regional and remote communities, $1.38 billion to Snowy Hydro 2.0 and $56 million for the Marinus Link.

The Greens will phase out coal, establish a ‘Small Business Clean Energy Fund’, launch a $2.2 billion battery storage fund and create renewable energy zones.

Efficient and safe access to agricultural technologies

Labor has not indicated that it will seek changes to the operation of the APVMA.

The Coalition supports the establishment of an APVMA skills-based board.

The Greens are pushing for mandatory re-approval and re-registration of all listed pesticides and vet chemicals.

Reinstate the ABC shortwave radio service

Labor announced $2 million in funding to re-establish shortwave radio services across the NT.

People and Communities

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Commit to act on agriculture’s labour shortages

Labor has committed to doing ‘something’ to resolve agriculture’s workforce issues. They have also announced a $1 billion package for TAFE and vocational education. Labor has not ruled out an Ag Visa.

The Coalition pledged $1.9 million for a new Agricultural Workforce Strategy. They will also invest $58 million in 10 Industry Training Hubs and have a new multi-million dollar plan to create jobs in the forestry and fishing industries. The Coalition has said it is ‘on a journey’ towards establishing Ag Visa.

The Greens support an Ag Visa negotiated with unions and industry.

Incentivise migration to regional centres

The Coalition has added 18 occupations to the regional occupations list and has committed to increase permanent migration to the regions.

Promote equitable services in in the bush

Labor supports the National Rural Health Strategy and will extend the scope of regional health services to include regionally-tailored mental health services, and establish regional suicide prevention services.

The Coalition is implementing a $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy over 10 years to deliver more health professionals in rural general practice, and has increased funding for Indigenous health (including mental health) and a range of mental health measures.

The Greens will invest $5.8 billion to provide Medicare funded dental care to all young people, pensioners, full benefit recipients and concession card holders.

Help minimise on-farm injuries

The Coalition has announced $3.5 million to establish a National Farm Safety Education Fund to support activities that address farm safety

A fair and workable industrial relations system

Labor has announced an intention to make significant changes to industrial relations, including altering collective bargaining arrangements and abolishing the Registered Organisations Commission.

The Coalition released a consultation paper on reforms encouraging small businesses to offer employee share schemes. The Coalition will maintain the current Fair Work Commission rules for setting the minimum wage.

Keep wages in line with productivity

Labor will require the Fair Work Commission to consider a ‘living wage’  – without regard to productivity gains – when setting the minimum wage. 

The Greens will amend legislation to ensure the minimum wage is at least 60% of the median.

Resist a reactionary response to labour market ‘casualisation’

Labor will introduce laws to establish a national labour hire licensing scheme, and regulate wages in the labour hire arrangements.

The Coalition will create a labour hire certification scheme and pass regulations allowing employers to offset any requirement to pay leave and other entitlements against any causal loading which was mistakenly paid employee.

Establish a national Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee

The Coalition will create a new National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee.

Do not revive the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT)

Labor will reintroduce a road safety body to set pay conditions for truck drivers.

The Coalition has committed that it will not reintroduce the RSRT. It has also announced a new $12 million package to provide extra road safety measures.

Capital and Risk Management

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Create an internationally competitive tax system for Australia

Labor supports the 25% tax rate for small business. They would also introduce an Australian Investment Guarantee that will allow all businesses to immediately deduct 20% of any new eligible asset worth more than $20,000.

The Coalition supports a 25% tax rate for small or unincorporated businesses with turnover of less than $5 million.

The Greens do not support further reducing business or personal taxes.

Maintain the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme

Labor has no plan to change the Fuel Tax Credits system.

The Coalition has no plan to change the Fuel Tax Credits system.

The Greens will retain the Fuel Tax Credit scheme for the agriculture industry, but remove it for the resources industry.

Back a fair go, through proactive competition policy

Labor has committed to establish a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy industry, and to pursue a floor price scheme for milk.

The Coalition supports a mandatory code of conduct for the dairy and sugar industries and continuation of the ACCC Agriculture Unit – including a dairy specialist.

The Greens support competition reforms that enable the ACCC to tackle misuse of market power throughout the supply chain.

Establish a comprehensive National Drought Policy

Labor has committed to match the Coalition commitment of $100 million per annum for drought preparedness.

The Coalition has committed to develop a Commonwealth Drought Strategy, plus $100 million per annum through a Drought Future Fund.

The Greens have committed to match the Coalition commitment of $100 million per annum for drought preparedness.

Get serious about stopping farm intrusions

Labor will support a call for states to review and consider strengthening their trespass laws.

The Coalition will introduce new criminal laws for those using a carriage service to disclose information which incites trespass on agricultural land, and has called on states and territories to strengthen penalties.

Make small businesses immediate asset write-off measures permanent 

Labor supports increasing the instant asset write-off from $25,000 to $30,000 but has not agreed to make this permanent.

The Coalition supports increasing the instant asset write-off from $25,000 to $30,000 but has not agreed to make this permanent.

The Greens support instant asset write-offs with an additional $30,000 allowance for small business expenditure on clean energy and agrees to make these measures permanent.

Official Party Responses

At the outset of our Growing Australia campaign, we wrote to each of the major parties to seek their formal response to our 2019 Federal Election Priorities. Click the letters below to download a full PDF copy of each response.

Click here to read the ALP response
Click here to read the Coalition response
Click here to read The Greens response

Authorised by Tony Mahar

Chief Executive

National Farmers’ Federation

14-16 Brisbane Avenue

Barton ACT 2600

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