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Forrest welcomes Coalition agriculture plan.

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Thursday, 5 August 2010


The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest has welcomed the Coalition’s comprehensive plan to boost Australian agriculture and ensure the nation’s food security in the longer term.

“The importance of agriculture should never be ignored by either side of politics,” Mr Forrest said.

“The Coalition recognises that primary producers are the cornerstone of our Australian economy and that to maintain out Australian lifestyle, we need to maintain a prosperous, efficient and sustainable food production system.”

Mr Forrest said he is particularly delighted the Coalition plan includes a $150million increase in funding for primary production research and development of over three years.

“I also like the innovative and well-thought-out characteristics of the Coalition policy outlined today by our Shadow Agriculture Minister John Cobb,” Mr Forrest said.

“The $5 million four-year scientist-researcher pilot programme offering grants of up to $50,000 for specialised research, mentoring or further study is one.

“Another is $50 million in grants over four years for farmers undertaking water-saving activities for stock use.”

In addition, there is:

• $20 million over four years towards a large scale Feral Animal Control Programme.

• A Saltbush Planting Programme to provide up to $100,000 matched dollar for dollar per annum a farm enterprise and up to $250,000 an established nursery a year.

• $8 million for a third party “auditable” map of Australia’s Agricultural Production carbon footprint.

• $2 million for a “Green Tape” audit of all environmental legislation and regulations.

• $15 million for a Bio-security Flying Squad to provide urgent additional resources when a bio-security risk is identified.

“Our border security would again be at the top of the agenda, by providing an additional $108.1 million for our Bio-security and Customs agencies,” Mr Forrest said.

“The Coalition does not support an emissions trading scheme and has made it very clear that feeding people is not something that should be artificially taxed by an emissions trading scheme.

“What would be the future of farming if, under Labor, farmers lost the diesel fuel rebate, there was an ETS, more productive farming land locked up, chemicals needed to control Queensland fruit fly banned, or animal welfare legislation which required farmers to get a licence to farm.

“In 2007 the world's urban population exceeded the rural population for the first time in history.

“Australia is already one of the most urbanised nations in the world and now every family needs a farmer and every farmer needs to be recognised for the contribution they make to our national economy,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.