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Food or trees?



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1/12/08

FOOD OR TREES?

Today’s decision by Nationals Senators to support a disallowance motion on regulations underpinning carbon sinks was all about preserving rural Australia.

Nationals Leader in the Senate Barnaby Joyce led his colleagues Fiona Nash, John Williams and Ron Boswell in breaking ranks with the Liberals to support the disallowance motion and render the regulations unworkable.

Senator Williams said they are not opposed to farmers planting trees on their own land, but won’t agree to tax deductions being offered for the practice.

“We would see big companies buying up good farming land and establishing forests of trees to gain tax breaks, but some sector will have to make up the deficit and it will be those who can least afford it.

It is not right that the big end of town be subsidised.

Of equal concern is the loss of prime agricultural land to trees.

Australia has always been a food-bowl for many parts of the world, but under these regulations cropping and grazing land could be replaced by trees, meaning a loss of food sovereignty and higher food prices”, Senator Williams said.

The price of land will be forced up and this will seriously jeopardise the family farmer’s ability to purchase additional land to remain viable.

“Regional communities would suffer because less work would be available on farms, the economies of country towns will suffer with less employment and agricultural purchases, and this in turn can lead to a rural community slowly dying.

At a time when the focus is on reinvigorating the Murray Darling Basin and our rivers generally, we should not be planting trees which soak up a lot of the run-off.

Simply, do we want food or trees?”, Senator Williams asked

Contact Senator Williams on 0427 029 918 or Greg Kachel on 0428 253 560.