WAFarmers calls on the State Government to commit to re-establishing the competitiveness and profitability of Western Australian agriculture by addressing a number of key issues in the lead-up to the State Election.
Split into two sections, the WAFarmers Policy Platform will focus on capitalising on the State Government’s acknowledgement that the WA agricultural industry has the potential to double production by 2025, and supercharging the opportunities available to industry.
“At the time of the 2013 State Election, WA had enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth, underpinned largely by the resources sector,” WAFarmers Senior Vice President Lyn Slade said.
“However, as the emphasis on the resources sector continues to diminish across WA, the opportunity arises for other sectors to offset any possible economic decline, and agriculture has been identified as a key driver of this growth.
“Given agriculture is WA’s second major export industry, with up to 80 per cent of its agricultural production exported, and that it represents about 10 per cent of the state’s economy, we must work hard to keep this momentum going to strengthen our economic value and stimulate our workforce.”
Mrs Slade said the platform comprised of a six-pillar Policy Priority List, and a Wish List, with numerous items considered to be secondary to the Policy Priority items, but no less important.
“Our members are major contributors to the growing value of the state’s farm production, which has risen from $5.4 billion at the farm gate to $8.6 billion in four years,” Mrs Slade said.
“WAFarmers has undertaken extensive consultation with our membership through our Zones and Commodities regarding the issues they considered most pertinent to agriculture this State Election, and we have developed our Policy Platform around these discussions.
“Further, we have extended invitations to representatives from the major political parties to discuss our Policy Platform, and have recently completed a series of meetings with interested political parties that have responded to our invitation.”
Mrs Slade said WAFarmers would release further details surrounding each of the Policy Priorities and the Wish List in the coming weeks, and would release an election scorecard towards the end of the campaign period outlining the positions of the major political parties with regards to the WAFarmers Policy Platform.
“There are so many opportunities in agriculture, so we need a strong State Government to get on board, capitalise on these opportunities and safeguard the future of this ever-evolving sector,” she said.
“We hope that the information we provide will assist the public to make an informed decision regarding the future of agriculture in WA at the polls in March.”
The WAFarmers six Policy Priorities are:
- Collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA to establish a long term plan for the minimum retention of funding and staffing levels.
- Increased access for the movement of agricultural goods and products by opening the RAV network to RAV 4 as a minimum.
- Complete the Regional Livestock Saleyard Strategy in the state’s South West.
- Appoint the Auditor General to review biosecurity processes in Western Australia and determine accountability and financing responsibilities.
- Commitment to a reduction in taxes and duties incurred when a farming business is handed to the next generation.
- Reform of fire mitigation protocols and structures to limit the number and severity of wild bush fires experienced in Western Australia.
The WAFarmers Wish List is as follows:
- Funding for WA’s sheep research flocks.
- Development of an online portal for the state’s apiary industry and government, to allow more efficient information exchange and collection.
- Commitment to the development and ongoing funding of a livestock and pasture research institute.
- An industry-endorsed institute for grains research and development in Western Australia
- Establishment of a dairy task force to determine a long term solution for the WA dairy industry.
- Commitment towards the continued expansion of the Mobile Black Spot Programme.
- Outline clear protections and benefits that the privatisation of state-owned monopoly assets would have for the agricultural industry.
- Any toll road introduced will run on a user-pay system that is cost-neutral to government.
- State Government offer a rebate on Multi Peril Crop Insurance policies for a three-year period.