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Energy, water & trade dominate first meeting of farmers & new Minister

Farmers meet for the first time with their ‘chief parliamentary advocate’, newly-appointed Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Hon David Littleproud MP.

Late last year, in a Cabinet reshuffle, the farm sector welcomed a new Federal Agriculture &Water Resources Minister, Queensland MP, Hon David Littleproud. Fresh from the Christmas break, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) yesterday caught up with Minister Littleproud to discuss the policy priorities for Australian farmers.

“We have a goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030 – a 67% per cent increase on the 2016-2017 production value of $60 billion,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

“Our discussion with the Minister centred on this ambitious, but we believe, achievable objective.

“Issues like energy, water, land-use management, trade and market access, labour, telecommunications, digital connectivity and the opportunities of ‘ag-tech’ all need to be progressed by Government and industry if agriculture is to continue to grow and prosper.”

NFF President Fiona Simson, Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Hon David Littleproud MP and NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar.

Ms Simson said, in particular, the NFF took the opportunity to reiterate to Minister Littleproud the need to sure up the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“During 2017, the Plan came under warranted scrutiny and processes are now in train to address the areas of concern raised.

“It is absolutely crucial that these processes are allowed to run their course and that in the meantime, all Basin jurisdictions work together to see the plan delivered on-time and in-full.

“Farmers, regional communities and the environment deserve no less.”

“The need for energy policy certainty and an approach that delivers energy reliability, affordability and sustainability was also discussed.”

“We explained the very real impact rising electricity prices are having on farmers," Ms Simson said.

“The NFF is the ‘voice of Australian farmers’ and Minister Littleproud is the 'chief advocate' for farmers in Parliament.
NFF President, Fiona Simson

 “We also had a wide-ranging discussion about the key trade priorities and opportunities for agriculture including the need to vigorously tackle non-tariff trade barriers and to pursue trade agreements with the United Kingdom, the European Union, India and of course, Indonesia.”

“We spoke directly about India’s concerning move to raise chickpea and lentil tariffs.”

Ms Simson said the meeting was a chance for the NFF, to establish a rapport and a productive relationship with the Minister.

“The NFF is the ‘voice of Australian farmers’ and Minister Littleproud is the 'chief advocate' for farmers in Parliament.

“Based on today’s conversation, I believe, together, we can achieve highly valuable outcomes for our sector.

“The NFF looks forward to working with Minister Littleproud in 2018 and beyond," Ms Simson said.

Minister Littleproud agreed.

"The NFF is a key voice to government.

"I aim to have open, frank and constructive relationships with all stakeholders and I know the NFF wants this too,” Minister Littleproud said.

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