WAFarmers has identified supply chain safeguards as being a key policy priority for the success of the nation’s agricultural sector, ahead of the Federal Election in July 2016.
With the gross value of Australian farm production sitting at $54 billion in 2014-2015, and that figure expected to rise to $60.3 billion in 2016-17, WAFarmers President Tony York explained that the Federal Government needed to act to protect the future of Australian farming.
“Following the downturn of the resources sector, the agricultural sector is ideally positioned to be an economic growth driver for the nation, and it is imperative that government develops appropriate policies to facilitate this growth,” Mr York said.
“To this end, safeguards must be put in place to assure this positive industry outlook into the future to protect the supply chain from gate to plate, and to ensure competitiveness, sustainability and profitability.
“Management of monopoly transport infrastructure to increase transparency in access and pricing, the establishment of robust systems to facilitate greater connectivity and responsiveness of industry to its customers and the broader community, and the streamlining of state and federal legislation, regulations and services are the first steps that should be taken to protect the supply chain.
“Additionally, the government should not only maintain but strengthen its support of the ACCC’s role in agriculture to ensure fair competition across the supply chain.”
Mr York said the agricultural sector’s significant contribution to the economy demands policy responses that support the sustainability and profitability of farmers and rural communities.
“Policy responses should acknowledge the role farmers play in not only feeding Australia but in contributing to the wealth of the nation,” Mr York said.
“Each Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 707 people, with the nation producing enough food for about 61 million people – 23 million at home and 38 million people abroad.
“By enacting appropriate policy to address these issues and encourage future growth, we anticipate that the Federal Government will accelerate agriculture to where it needs to be so as to properly safeguard the supply chain and support the future of our industry.”