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Govt policies 'must' help farmers grow

30 April, 2014

Australia's peak agricultural representative body, the National Farmers' Federation (NFF), has outlined priorities for government policy in the sector in its submission to the federal government's Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process.

The White Paper process is about driving government policies that in turn drive improved competitiveness in the agriculture sector, said President of the NFF Brent Finlay in a statement.

"This means generating income through areas such as trade access and reducing costs through removing red tape and making it easier for the farm sector to do business," Finlay said.

"Australian farm businesses rely on effective and efficient government policies to ensure agriculture remains a significant contributor to both the Australian economy and local communities.

"If we are to be truly competitive, the government must commit to a strong and refocussed national agriculture portfolio that supports the sector's capabilities to produce and supply the world's best food and fibre – here and overseas."

The NFF submission covers a broad range of policy areas, such as increasing growth in export markets, investigating farm models that attract investment, and improving regulatory efficiency.

The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process provides an opportunity to acknowledge the government's role in progressing many of the recommendations that came out of the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, which was launched by the NFF early in 2013.

"The Blueprint is the first sector-wide effort to set out a strong and sustainable future path for Australian agriculture. We're seeking government policies that align with the direction articulated in the Blueprint," Finlay said.

"With our White Paper submission, we're continuing to shine the spotlight on some of the serious policy issues that need to be addressed to ensure the agriculture sector in Australia continues to grow.

"We commend the Minister for Agriculture for a White Paper that is seeking to deal with the diverse array of policy issues in an agriculture-specific context. We'll now be looking to see that there is continued focus on investing in our sector."

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