Prime Minister Scott Morrison threw his support behind the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) vision of a $100 billion ag industry by 2030 in his address at the Bush Summit in Dubbo, NSW this week.
In a wide-ranging speech to the Summit, Mr Morrison addressed a number of burning issues faced by the agriculture industry and rural and regional communities.
He pledged to set up a new parliamentary committee to examine the future needs of rural and regional Australia and to pass the promised strengthened laws against on-farm intrusions within the fortnight.
The PM also highlighted has election commitment to provide $10 million for ag education in urban schools, and strategies to boost economic resilience in drought-stricken communities.
“I want Australians in regional areas in particular to know that either efforts, their struggles and their values are respected by all Australians. Particularly as they face the challenges they do now,” Mr Morrison said.
In providing his backing for the NFF’s $100 billion vision, the PM said the government would develop a comprehensive plan to achieve that growth target.
The plan will focus on expanding exports and improving market access by reducing trade barriers, while addressing issues like intergenerational succession.
Speaking from the Bush Summit, NFF President Fiona Simson said the backing of government was critical for Australian agriculture to meet the $100 billion target.
“There’s no denying a 70 per cent increase in farm gate revenue would be transformational for Australia, but achieving that vision is by no means a given,” she said.
“We have consistently said that achieving this ambitious target will take significant buy-in from the government, in the form of a whole-of-government plan for agriculture.
The plan the Prime Minister has now committed to developing is precisely the sort of leadership we’ve been calling for.Fiona Simson, NFF President
Also at the Summit, the NSW Government announced $2 million to explore options for develop financial risk management tools that will help farmers manage drought.
Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the announcement will come as welcome news for NSW farmers as the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts depict no rain in the near future.
“Our primary producers are facing one of the worst droughts in living memory and the NSW Government wants to ensure farmers never suffer the same financial hardship again,” he said.
“That’s why we’re putting cash on the table to go to work with the National Farmers Federation and identify potential models that could be used to protect farmers against income loss in future droughts or even natural disasters.”
Ms Simson said that financial risk management products, from insurance to weather derivatives and forward contracting, are important tools in the range of measures farmers employ to manage risk.
“This investment by the NSW Government will enable the work needed to develop these tools in Australia.”