FARMERS don’t want handouts but they do want to get on and do what they do best with less red tape surrounding them.
This was part of the message producers and graziers gave staffers from
the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet during a two-day visit to Tamworth which ended yesterday.
Eleven people had one-on-one interviews with staff on Monday, while 13 people attended a three-hour round-table discussion yesterday morning.
Matters raised will help inform the federal government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, described by the sessions’ facilitator, Andrew McDonald, as the first time in eight years a federal government had done such a major exercise.
“The last major exercise of this nature was when (then National Farmers’ Federation president) Peter Corrish did a review in 2006,” Mr McDonald said.
Matters raised at Tamworth included government policies around renewable energy; the negative impact the high Australian dollar was having on our farmers; a lack of good communication infrastructure in the bush for mobile phones and broadband; industrial relations laws; the carbon tax; farmgate price compared to retail price; native vegetation laws; and mining on the Liverpool Plains.
All the farmers present yesterday said it was good to be able to have the discussions but they hoped their ideas would be incorporated into the White Paper.
All were thankful that federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce was listening to their concerns so agriculture around the nation could be made more competitive and productive.
Adrian Spencer, owner of Ironbark Herefords, a 4856ha cattle farm, said his main concern was “government regulation and red tape”.
“In the beef industry ... there’s so much cost above us it rocks our profitability,” Mr Spencer said.
Gunnedah farmer and former Grains Research Development Corporation chairman Keith Perrett said discussion also centred on the suspension of the live cattle trade and “state regulation and federal government legislation”, saying it was a “good discussion overall”.