PM backs $100 billion target for farm sector

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.”

Source: The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF)

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