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Farmers not heard by Albanese Labor government on industry impacts and raising costs for Australian families says David Littleproud

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt's actions have eroded farmers' confidence, as Labor dismisses their concerns and ignores industry impacts, raising costs for Australian families.

By news@gippsland - 24th October 2023 - Back to News

Australian farmers feel under siege by the Albanese government, with shattered investment confidence that will flow to increased grocery bills. Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said there were major issues across the agriculture industry, from Labor's biosecurity levy, to banning live sheep exports, taxing unrealised capital gains on superannuation, refusing to reinstate the Agriculture visa, industrial relations laws and water buybacks in the Murray-Darling basin.

While Labor rejects reinstating the Agriculture visa, PALM scheme changes impose a 30-hour minimum, burdening farmers in seasonal, weather-dependent work

While Labor rejects reinstating the Agriculture visa, PALM scheme changes impose a 30-hour minimum, burdening farmers in seasonal, weather-dependent work

Farmers criticise minister

Mr Littleproud said, "It takes a special talent by Agriculture Minister Murray Watt to lose the confidence of Australian farmers, all within 12 months. Labor's arrogant attitude during Senate Estimates shows it has no plan to address concerns raised by farmers. Labor isn't listening to farmers and is decimating the regions. When supply goes down, prices go up, which is why Labor's bad choices and policies will only continue to drive up everyone's cost of living."

It comes after Minister Watt shunned fears raised by damning National Farmers' Federation (NFF) survey results from 1600 farmers across Australia, including the detrimental impact of Labor policies on agriculture and the regions.

The NFF's survey results also showed that a majority of farmers think the federal government's policies are harming the industry and one in three farmers are less positive about the future of farming than they were 12 months ago.

Debate on transmission

Minister Watt told Senate Estimates "people have opinions about that but they are not always backed up by the facts", while Committee chair and Labor Senator Glenn Sterle also accused the NFF of spreading "mistruths". Minister Watt also said he didn't support a Senate Inquiry into transmission lines and renewable energy because it was "well beyond the responsibilities" of agriculture and already being done within government.

"It is deeply concerning that Minister Watt couldn't say if he had met with any affected landowners in central Queensland who are worried about wind farms or transmission lines and also refused to say if Labor would hold open public hearings in relation to the issue. Labor isn't being transparent about the damage its policies are causing and turning its back on Australian farmers," he said.

Fair work legislation impact

Mr Littleproud added changes to the Fair Work Legislation Amendment Bill would hurt farmers - and Australian families. "Labor is refusing the reinstate the Agriculture visa but changes to the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme will make it even more difficult and costly for farmers to get their product from paddock to plate."

"It will require farmers to offer a minimum of 30 hours per week, even though agricultural work is seasonal work and weather dependent. However, Minister Watt doesn't care about the concerns of farmers. He has shaken the confidence of the agriculture industry in every aspect, which will cost Australian families even more," he said.

Pictures from Good Fruit and Vegetables website.


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