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Australian inquiry lends support to growth plan for ag sector

17 December 2020

An inquiry in Australia's parliament has voiced support for the farm sector's growth vision for 2030.

A parliamentary inquiry into agriculture’s $100-billion-by-2030 vision has supported many of the National Farmers’ Federation’s ideas to propel farm sector growth.

NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar welcomed the recommendations of the House of Representatives, Growing Australia inquiry.

“It is pleasing to see that the Committee has supported many of tactics within the 2030 Roadmap, which is the result of nation-wide consultation carried out by the NFF with farmers, agribusiness and regional Australians.

 

In particular, the Inquiry’s recommendations reiterate the need for a dedicated agricultural visa solution to meet the sector’s seasonal labour needs; a more strategic and better resourced approach to biosecurity; an alternative approach to managing farm business risk; and a framework to govern the use of agricultural data.

“In the context of current trade challenges, we also strongly support the Committee’s recommendation for increased resources to enable the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to focus on a number of market access negotiations, concurrently.

“The NFF continues to call for the Department to be better resourced to pursue the $100 billion target.

“As an export dependent sector, growing the value of farm exports, will be one of the most significant drivers of growth. It’s essential that these efforts are adequately supported both from a financial and human resource perspective.”

Mr Mahar said the $100 billion target also hinged on a strong and well-resourced biosecurity regime.

“The Report makes a clear recommendation for a National Biosecurity Strategy that harmonises regulations between jurisdictions wherever possible, takes advantage of new biosecurity technologies and ensures they are implemented consistently across Australia.

“Biosecurity underpins all that farmers do, if Australia continues to experience pest and disease incursions and departments are not adequately resourced then the goal of $100 billion will be in peril,” Mr Mahar said.

The Inquiry drew on submissions from the NFF, other peak agriculture bodies and the private sector.

“Importantly, the Committee, which is made up of members of Parliament with a passion and a vision for regional Australia, confirmed ongoing bipartisan support for the industry’s $100 billion goal,” Mr Mahar said.

 

“Already on a trajectory of growth, with a status quo approach, agriculture would likely reach about $86 billion by 2030. To reach $100 billion in farmgate output, we need new investment and innovation to leverage opportunities and to break down barriers to growth.”

The Inquiry took a comprehensive look across the agriculture supply chain from the management of land and water to the opportunities on offer from the adoption of digital technology and connectivity.

Other key recommendations include new communications to encourage school leavers to study agriculture and the establishment of recognised and accredited qualification and professional development system to develop a career in agriculture.

Last week, the NFF released its annual Report Card on the progress towards $100 billion citing trade, workforce shortages and biosecurity as areas where more work was work needed.

“Today’s report is an important body of work, that makes the case for investment across all three areas.

“We look forward to working with Government and others in seeing the Committee’s recommendations implemented,” Mr Mahar said.



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