Australia’s peak farm body is urging the Federal Government to put its agricultural policies under the microscope as it prioritises cost of living relief for Australians.
NFF President David Jochinke warned a range of policy pressures on farmers were risking production and could fuel price inflation at the supermarket checkout.
“We’ve seen this government ignore the needs of the farm sector with policies that erode access to the basic ingredients of farming – from water, to workers, markets for animal exports and even agricultural land.
“The Government’s water buybacks plan rammed through Parliament last year threatens to decimate over $850 million in farm production.
“Inaction on worker shortages has left farmers choosing not to plant crops, and processors operating at reduced capacity.
“Tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission lines and planned carbon offsets need to be carefully managed so we don’t take precious farmland out of production forever.
“We need to be looking at the cumulative impact these policies will have on our farm sector, now and for future generations.
“We know the best way to keep food prices stable is to keep farmers farming, not take away the basics they need to grow food and fibre,” Mr Jochinke explained.
The NFF welcomed recent moves to investigate the conduct of major supermarkets, but warned this needed to go further to deliver results.
“It’s great to see the Government starting to look at the supermarkets to make sure farmers and consumers are getting a fair deal.
“But there are other players clipping the ticket, so these inquiries need to look at that whole supply chain.”
The NFF also pointed to upcoming cost increases like the proposed biosecurity levy as evidence the government wasn’t listening to food and fibre producers.
“Every industry group and even the Productivity Commission has called out the poor design of the biosecurity levy. It’s about as popular as a root canal.
“If the Government is serious about fixing the cost of living, it needs to take a serious look at how its own policies are impacting food and fibre production,” Mr Jochinke concluded.
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