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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1709

Mr TAYLOR (Hume) (13:57): I am delighted that the federal agriculture taskforce is visiting Goulburn in my electorate next week. We have had some good rain across Hume in recent weeks and I have been out to a number of the local shows recently. I know there is a lot of passion and excitement about the future of agriculture. At Koorawatha, Boorowa, Crookwell and Gunning shows a bit of rain always helps the mood. I hope that a number of businesses and farmers take the opportunity to have a break from work and come along to Goulburn next Thursday, because we need their input.

The task force is on a national tour listening to farmers and stakeholders on the future competitiveness of agriculture in Australia. I am delighted that Hume is on the list. It is vital that we continue to develop policies that help farmers to help themselves. Most farmers do not want a handout, they just want to be successful at what they do. The competitiveness of the sector depends on opening up new markets, getting into those fast-growing Asian markets for meat, cherries, grain and dairy. It means taking away unnecessary red and green tape. It means putting more money into research and development. We have got to capitalise on these opportunities to help agriculture thrive and realise the benefits in farm gate prices and profitability. I look forward to hearing some great ideas from locals on how to boost the sector's prosperity and productivity.