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Farmers say 'now is the time' to invest in agriculture

09 June, 2015

The President of the Fair Work Commission, Justice Ian Ross, recently announced a $16 per week increase to the national minimum wage and modern award wages.

From 1 July 2015, the national minimum wage will be $656.90 per week or $17.29 per hour.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia has announced that interest rates will remain at a record low of 2.0 per cent.

In acknowledging the decision, Brent Finlay, President of the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) said: "Agriculture is a source of economic strength in the Australian economy. Restraint in wage growth and record low interest rates signals that now is the time to invest in the agriculture sector.

"In our submission to the Annual Wage Review, the NFF called on the Fair Work Commission's Expert Panel to balance fairness with the need to encourage job creation, given predicted softening in the economy over the coming 12 months," he said.

"The NFF asked the Commission to be mindful of the ongoing effects of sustained drought on farmers across the country, in addition to recent floods and cyclones.

"Importantly, the Commission has recognised the need for wage restraint in the current environment. The future is bright for Australian agriculture, but it will be at least a year before we start seeing real benefits flow back to the farm gate," said Finlay.

"Today's decision by the Reserve Bank Board keeps interest rates down, supporting borrowing and investment. This is great news for farmers, agribusinesses and indeed all investors."

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