The Coalition has today released its plan for a stronger agriculture sector with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce today launching the Coalition’s $240 million agriculture policy at the Primex agricultural field day in Casino.
“When the Coalition came to office, we were determined to rescue agriculture from the policy backwater where Labor had placed it, develop a strategic plan for the sector and implement it,” Minister Joyce said.
“The Labor-Greens-Independent government had gutted the Agriculture Department and delivered industry catastrophes, such as the live export ban.
“At the end of one term, we have built and delivered a $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper that will support jobs growth in our regions, drive export opportunities for agricultural businesses and encourage investment to ensure Australia remains a globally competitive agriculture producer.
“Every aspect of the Ag White Paper has been delivered or is well in progress.
“The Coalition is delivering significant commitments to the agriculture sector, including a $200 million increase in biosecurity funding, $190 million for rural research and development for profit, $100 million for pest and weed management, a $2.5 billion drought concessional loan programme for farmers and a $500 million National Water Infrastructure Fund to provide future water security for our farmers.
“The Coalition has taken agriculture to the centre of government business and brought water resources policy into the portfolio.
“But there is more we can do to bolster the plan laid out in the White Paper.
“In the recent budget, the Coalition delivered a $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, and if re-elected we will implement the Livestock Export Global Assurance programme, create centres of excellence in agriculture and establish a Regional Investment Corporation to deliver loans initiatives.”
Minister Joyce said the Coalition was also committed to increasing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment into agriculture, helping establish a rice industry in Northern Australia and developing the capacity of agricultural industry leaders.
“A stronger agricultural sector not only benefits regional Australia, but boosts the economy, creates more jobs and drives exports,” he said.
“Australia’s farmers contribute around $51 billion to our nation’s economy, including $41 billion in agricultural exports.
“The Coalition’s leadership in agriculture is in stark contrast to the Labor Party, which has not found the time to come up with a single policy for Australian agriculture, other than promises to punish the sector with additional federal red tape and oversight for land clearing.
“It is truly shocking that among Labor’s 100 policies, agriculture doesn’t rate a mention.
“Labor is trying to get the old Labor-Greens-Independent alliance back into Government, with its shocking record of economic mismanagement and complete disregard for Australian agriculture.
“The Coalition has proved it can deliver for Australian agriculture and we have no intention of slowing down now.”