Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan has strongly defended the Australian cotton industry during a visit to Goondiwindi with the LNP Senate Team.
“Cotton is vital to the prosperity of many rural centres in Queensland and New South Wales, especially towns in the Murray-Darling basin like Goondiwindi,” Minister Canavan said.
“It is a major primary industry export and creates wealth and jobs from the growing areas right through to the cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, where it is exported.
“The Government is supporting growers and everyone involved in the cotton industry, and we want to see the cotton industry continue to thrive.”
Inspecting a cotton farm near the Queensland – New South Wales border west of Goondiwindi, LNP Senate Candidate Susan McDonald said cotton was earning Australia close to $3 billion a year.
“Cotton accounted for 5 per cent of the gross value of Australian agricultural production in the 2017-18 financial year,” Ms McDonald said.
“Australian cotton has a reputation for quality and exports were worth more than $2 billion in 2017-18.
“Australian cotton directly supports 10,000 jobs across 150 communities in a non-drought year and is grown on more than 1,200 farms, over 90 per cent of them family-owned farms.
“Cotton is a strong part of the fabric of rural life across much of Queensland New South Wales.”
Minister Canavan said cotton-growing was not responsible for low water levels in the southern reaches of the Murray-Darling system.
“The proposal by the Centre Alliance to ban farmers from exporting cotton is naïve and short-sighted,” Minister Canavan said.
“It would not deliver any extra water to the bottom end of the system.
“Current problems are being caused by drought and many farmers are not receiving an allocation of irrigation water.
“When they do receive an allocation, they can choose how they use it, for example watering cattle or growing crops like cotton. Many choose cotton because it is a relatively profitable crop.
“Water flowing down the system is also affected by evaporation and other factors. Modelling for the Northern Basin Review showed an extra 70 gigalitres of water to the river in the Northern Basin would deliver just seven gigalitres to Menindee.”
Source: Australian Government