Farming and agriculture have been at the forefront of Australia’s development. For over 200 years, farmers have fed our growing population and provided an underlying economic cornerstone that has been vital to our social, economic and environmental development. Australian farmers are environmental stewards, who collectively manage and care for the majority of Australia’s land mass. Our farmers deserve better recognition and security from Government.
Foreign ownership of land: Australians are rightfully concerned when large tracts of prime agricultural land and water rights are sold to foreign interests. Historically, our economy has been developed using large amounts of foreign private capital, whereas now we are experiencing an influx of foreign Government capital and loss of ownership.
- Support the establishment of a register of foreign owned lands that is accessible for public scrutiny.
- Drastically reduce the level of foreign investment that triggers review by the Foreign Investment Review Board to $1 million.
- Increase transparency and integrity in foreign investment of agricultural land.
Food security: With an ever expanding population food security is a key strategic issue for the nation. Long-term planning can successfully avert any gaps between demand and supply.
- Ensure the security of land ownership, water, and the protection of domestic and foreign markets for Australia’s food producers.
- Introduce right-to-farm legislation giving farmers absolute private property rights, including the right to refuse mining operations.
Land clearing: More often than not, the Government has caved in to inner city and green lobby groups over land clearing laws, while true facts and science are neglected. Farmers should have the freedom to clear vegetation on their land where appropriate.
- Vehemently oppose any moves by the Commonwealth to overturn State and Territory based land clearing laws.
Live Export: The kneejerk reaction by the Federal government to suspend live exports from Australia had, and continues to have, a devastating financial and social impact on livestock producers.
- Support the expansion of a sustainable live export trade.
- Oppose cheap imports of foods undercutting Australian farmed foods and risking the biodiversity of Australian farmed produce.
National water security: The demands of an increasing population, large cities and agricultural production are placing undue stress on our national water supplies. A national water security policy will alleviate these pressures.
- Significant increase in water conservation networks.
- Support Federal grants for on-farm infrastructure for water conservation.
- Significant increase in investment in water storage and distribution infrastructure, including the establishment of a northern water diversion scheme to dry land areas.
- Significantly increase Federal funding into drought mitigation research and development.
Market power: Market power in the food system has created a challenging environment for many Australian farmers and suppliers, with flow on costs to ordinary consumers. Government policies must be put in place to protect and provide incentives for local farmers and suppliers within a competitive food system.
- Support measures to reduce market domination and increase competition in the retail and agricultural sector.
- Immediately review and amend the Murray Darling Basin Plan through active consultation and recognition of farming enterprises and rights, including social, economic and environmental considerations.
- Support the establishment of a rural development bank to provide farming enterprises with an alternate source of financial support.
- Reduce government interference into farming and small business enterprises by removing unnecessary duplication of State/Territory and Commonwealth law, red tape, and regulation.
- Amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to remove the right for Third Parties to take Court action. Further, the Act is to be amended so as to exclude the Commonwealth veto on State infrastructure projects such as water or power utilities projects.
Wildfire management: The devastating human and property losses from uncontrolled wildfires throughout Australia remain indelibly etched in the mind of all Australians especially those in vulnerable rural communities.
- Establish and expand appropriate fuel load reduction on public lands through grazing, firewood harvesting, controlled clearing and prescribed burning.
- Prevent the Federal Government interference with State and Territory based wildfire management projects.
- Prevent Commonwealth interference over farmers protecting their land through burning of adjacent public land areas.