Agri­cul­ture min­is­ter up­beat over fu­ture

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SHANE DOUTHIE sd­outhie@ne­me­dia.com.au

THERE is still a good story to be told about Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture de­spite grow­ing con­cerns about wors­en­ing drought con­di­tions in many parts of the coun­try ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources David Lit­tleproud.

Mr Lit­tleproud met with beef pro­duc­ers at El­do­rado on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon fol­low­ing a fo­rum in Shep­par­ton at lunchtime where his re­cep­tion from farmers con­cerned about the lack of wa­ter al­lo­ca­tions from the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin sys­tem was less wel­com­ing.

He was in Wan­garatta to speak later that evening at the North East Ag In­dus­try din­ner.

“The value of agri­cul­ture in Aus­tralia has grown from $36 bil­lion to $60 bil­lion in the last six years and we must be proud of that,” Mr Lit­tleproud told the Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle.

“We need the market to un­der­stand that and the wider Aus­tralian pub­lic.”

He said lo­cal farmers he spoke to dur­ing the day were in­ter­ested in a va­ri­ety of is­sues in­clud­ing trade, wa­ter avail­abil­ity and in­put costs such as en­ergy and labour costs.

“It’s also im­por­tant we keep ex­pand­ing our agri­cul­ture ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“Peo­ple un­der­stand there is a real ca­reer path­way now in agri­cul­ture, not only on the land but in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy re­search.

“It’s im­por­tant we bring the young peo­ple into the in­dus­try.”

Mr Lit­tleproud an­nounced in Shep­par­ton a new manda­tory code for the dairy in­dus­try will be in­tro­duced.

He said the code was a re­sult of the re­cent ACCC in­quiry into the dairy in­dus­try and there would be an ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion process with key stake­hold­ers, in par­tic­u­lar the pro­duc­ers and pro­ces­sors.

Mr Lit­tleproud said al­though sim­i­lar re­form into the red meat in­dus­try had stalled he be­lieved it would get back on track.

“I’m very sup­port­ive of con­tin­u­ing that process, I want the in­dus­try to lead and I was heart­ened what I heard from pro­duc­ers at El­do­rado,” he said.

Mr Lit­tleproud said he un­der­stood the de­sire of pro­duc­ers want­ing a say in their share of the cat­tle levy which the ACCC in­quiry found ben­e­fit­ted buy­ers and pro­ces­sors rather than the farmers.

“They (pro­duc­ers) don’t feel they have a seat at the ta­ble,” he said.

OUT AND ABOUT: Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud was heart­ened by the at­ti­tude of lo­cal farmers he met at El­do­rado and Wan­garatta on Wed­nes­day.

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