Policy must balance agricultural production with environmental outcomes says Australian union

Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has called on political parties to commit to policies that will support Australian farmers to sustainably produce food and fibre to meet growing domestic and global demands.

As the Federal Election campaign enters into its second last week NFF President, Brent Finlay, said the organisation’s ideas to support innovation in environmental management had failed to gain real traction in the policy platforms announced by the major parties.

“Prosperous farming enterprises are not mutually exclusive to achieving positive environmental outcomes – in fact, time and time again it is shown that healthy land is the most productive,” Mr Finlay said.

Mr Finlay said extraordinary gains in farming innovation, which facilitate both increased productivity and environmental performance, had been made and that these advancements should be the foundation of associated policy.

“For example our sector has taken tremendous strides towards making sure we are well placed to meet the climate challenges of the future and to enable agriculture to contribute to emissions reduction goals,” he said.

“We would like to see a continuation of the government and industry investment partnership in R&D to reduce emission intensity and to further develop the innovation required to unlock the carbon sequestration potential of Australian farms.

“The agriculture sector is continually under attack from interest groups which attempt to place great pressure on politicians to adopt idealistic policies. These idealistic policies fail to reflect the reality of on-ground environment and natural resource management.

“The ALP & Greens proposed Canberra-centric native vegetation management laws, which fail to recognise the diversity of the Australian landscape and the need to manage vegetation for environmental outcomes beyond just carbon, are examples of this.

“We have seen very little from the major parties on their plans for ensuring that as a nation we continue to invest in the science that is required to make sensible decisions that balance farming with other land uses such as the mining and the gas industry.

“The NFF also calls for a rebalancing of federal investment in Landcare to allow industry to work with government to promote sustainable agriculture that can deliver social, economic and environmental outcomes.

“Agriculture is poised to deliver a range of benefits to Australia, including environmental, but we need policies which assist this to do this.

“As such, Australian farmers call on the political parties to demonstrate they have an understanding of the value of the industry and to present policies which support both a thriving agriculture sector and a healthy environment.”

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