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Australian agriculture negatively impacted under the Labor Albanese Federal government says David Littleproud

David Littleproud expressed concerns about the challenging impact of the first year of an Albanese Labor government on Australian agriculture, including the cancellation of the AgVisa and the ban on live sheep exports.

By news@gippsland - 22nd May 2023 - Back to News

The Nationals leader David Littleproud said the first 12 months of an Albanese Labor government had been tough for Australian agriculture, with the full effect to be felt in the coming few years. "Within its first few months of office, Labor scrapped The Nationals' AgVisa, despite warnings from the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) at Labor's Jobs and Skills Summit that agriculture requires an additional 172,000 workers to get food from paddock to Australian plates."

David Littleproud criticised Labor's decisions on workforce, taxation, and infrastructure cuts, predicting further damage in the future

David Littleproud criticised Labor's decisions on workforce, taxation, and infrastructure cuts, predicting further damage in the future

Limited workforce availability

Mr Littleproud said, "Labor instead will cap farmers to just the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, which has the potential of just 42,000 workers, despite offers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to send workers here."

Mr Littleproud said farmers and processors were making investment decisions not to plant and not to invest, because the government could not provide them confidence of a stable workforce, which was driving down supply and consumer prices up.

Labor also allowed animal activists to announce its decision to ban live sheep exports, destroying 3,000 jobs without even explaining the science on why the ban was being implemented, despite Australia having the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

Government subpar standards

Mr Littleproud said, "The government is prepared to export the welfare standards of live sheep to countries that don't come close to our standards. This folly that we should process them here shows they haven't engaged properly with these countries - they've made it clear that unless we send live sheep they won't take processed sheep."

This year's Budget also hit farmers and consumers hard with the introduction of a fresh food tax. Farmers are now being asked to pay for the biosecurity risks of their foreign competitors to bring their produce to Australia.

"In what parallel universe does a sovereign government ask their own farmers to pay for the risks their foreign competitors pose to this country, so they can then compete with them here in Australia?" he said.

Nationals pledge tax swap

The Nationals have given a commitment to abolish the fresh food tax and instead implement the container levy on importers that the former Coalition government had planned to introduce at the end of last year, had it won the election.

Mr Littleproud said Labor was also looking to tax farmers with their new superannuation tax, with a large number of farmers vulnerable. "Farmers holding their land in superannuation funds for succession purposes could now be taxed the paper capital gains on the land's values, which would decimate agriculture."

In addition, Labor is increasing the road user charge on truckies. "This is a tax on truckies, which both farmers and consumers will have to pay, because small trucking companies can't absorb that."

Budget decimates agriculture

This year's Budget also has the continual slashing of water infrastructure funding the Coalition committed to, with almost $7 billion in crucial dams and water projects now cut since Labor took office."This decision not only takes away the tools we need to produce the nation's food and fibre, it also takes away the next generation's future in agriculture."

Another $9.9 billion was cancelled, cut and delayed from key local road, highway and rail projects in the October 2022 Budget and a further $1.8 billion from road projects in the 2023 Budget.

Labor's cuts to the agricultural sector range from $120 billion worth of road and infrastructure projects being put under the microscope by a razor gang, to scrapping the $10 billion regional grants program. If Labor can do so much harm to agriculture and regional Australia in just 12 months, I fear what it will look like in a couple of years' time.

Pictures from Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


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