Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tractors drive home the plight of Tasmanian growers.



Download PDFDownload PDF

News Release

TRACTORS DRIVE HOME THE PLIGHT OF TASMANIAN GROWERS 11 August 2005 NR 102/05

The Canberra finale of the Tasmanian Farmers’ and Graziers Association (TFGA) “Fair Dinkum Food Tractor Rally” will highlight the current plight of the Tasmanian Vegetable industry to the Federal Government, National Farmers’ Federation President, Mr Peter Corish said today.

Mr Corish said NFF was looking forward to meeting TFGA President Roger Swain and the delegation to discuss the implications of McDonalds Australia’s recent decision to source less potatoes from Tasmania, opportunities to improve Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling standards and broader strategies to encourage consumers to buy Australian produce, and to improve the competitiveness of the vegetable industry.

“As well as attracting strong media and consumer interest, the Fair Dinkum Foods Campaign has been supported by a number of NFF member organisations, including NSW Farmers’ Association and the Victorian Farmers Federation, with farmers in many State capitals and regional centres coming out in support of their Tasmanian colleagues,” Mr Corish said.

“The widespread support for the Campaign highlights that major competitive pressures being faced by the Tasmanian vegetable industry are not unique and that many agricultural regions and industries are facing pressure in relation to declining terms of trade and strong import competition.

“Clearly, the best way Australian consumers can support Australian farmers is by choosing to purchase Australian food.

Mr Corish said that to enable Australian consumers to make a more informed choice about the food they consume, it was imperative for Australia to commit to the introduction of an improved Country of Origin Labelling system that delivers consumers this information without imposing unreasonable costs or restrictions on the broader Australian food chain.

NFF remains in discussions with Federal Ministers and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) on the proposed Country of Origin Labelling Standard, and we look forward to examining closely the revised FSANZ proposal to be released later this week.

The NFF Policy Council is currently considering the issue of Country of Origin Labelling and will seek to agree upon a balanced and practical labelling policy that delivers a prompt outcome for both consumers and farmers on this issue, while remaining consistent with Australia’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations and existing legislation such as the Trade Practices Act.

“While today’s Fair Dinkum Foods Rally will profile a number of key challenges facing the Tasmanian vegetable industry, there remains a wider range of challenges facing the Australian farm sector.

“NFF continues to lobby the Federal Government to develop and implement progressive policies that reduce farmers’ business costs, ease the regulatory burden and deliver business certainty,” Mr Corish said.

“It is also vital that the Government continues to pursue a fairer deal and improved trade opportunities domestically and internationally.”

BRIEFING NOTE: CHALLENGES FACING AUSTRALIAN FARMING

Australian vegetable growers, like all Australian farmers are under immense pressure in the face of increasing business costs, labour shortages, drought, water shortages, escalating compliance costs and government red tape.

High input costs including fuel, fertilisers and chemicals, freight and transport challenges and an unfavourable exchange rate are also placing enormous pressures on farmers.

The National Farmers’ Federation recognises the combination of these pressures is threatening the fundamental viability of many farm businesses. NFF continues to lobby the Federal Government to ease this burden through:

• Providing farmers increased land resource security and “cutting the red tape”; • Delivering water resource security through implementing the National Water Initiative; • Implementing a more flexible industrial relations system that encompasses farm businesses; • Assisting farmers to meet the compliance costs associated with the new ammonium nitrate security regulations; • Bringing forward the fuel excise reforms outlined in the Energy White Paper; and • Delivering genuine and meaningful National Drought Policy Reform, including through the introduction of

additional initiatives to assist farmers to better prepare for droughts.

NFF is also lobbying Government to deliver a fairer deal and improved trade opportunities for Australia farmers in both domestic and international markets through:

• ensuring the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct delivers farmers more clarity and certainty in their business dealings with wholesalers; • strengthening grower involvement and the provisions of voluntary Produce and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct Code; • implementing amendments to the Trade Practices Act to streamline collective negotiation provisions for

farmers; • delivering genuine and commercially meaningful trade reform through the current World Trade Organisation negotiations; and • ensuring that any concluded bilateral Free Trade Agreements deliver maximum benefits to all Australian

agricultural industries, ideally full and open access for all agricultural products.

Contact: Mairi Barton, General Manager Public Relations, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email: mbarton@nff.org.au

Copyright © 2004. National Farmers' Federation. All rights reserved.