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Wednesday, 20 October 1999
Page: 11984

Mr BROUGH —My question is to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Would the minister please inform the House what the federal government is doing to assist the development of young leaders in rural and regional Australia?

Mr TRUSS (Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —May I thank the honourable member for Longman for raising this question because it draws attention to a gathering of 130 young farm leaders who are currently in Parliament House attending the National Farmers Federation 20th Anniversary Conference of Young Farmers. The interesting thing about this 20th anniversary event is that the National Farmers Federation have chosen not just to recall their achievements over the past 20 years, even though they are considerable, but to use this year to invest in the future of farm leadership. So they have brought together, with sponsorship from the federal government and a number of other agencies, some of the young people who will be the farm leaders of the future.

I have to say that I have been very impressed with the calibre of these people, and they give us a great deal of confidence about the capacity of rural Australia to continue to produce in a way which will benefit our nation. These young people are very important in helping to develop the sorts of policies that will be necessary to keep Australian agriculture strong and viable, but they are also important for the role that they can play at a leadership level in country communities. This government is very keen to support rural Australia, and one of the best investments we can make is in its young people, because our rural young people certainly have the capacity to contribute to building strong agriculture in this country to ensure it remains competitive and to ensure that rural Australia remains strong in the decades ahead.

Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper .