The Honorable David Littleproud, MP
August 29, 2022
The first 100 days of a federal Labor government have seen cuts, inaction and delays in a worrying sign of things to come for Australian agriculture as the cost of living soars, skills shortages is felt and interest rates continue to rise.
Nationals leader David Littleproud said in 100 days the new Labor government had scrapped the Ag visa, pledged to ban live sheep exports, reopened water wars and been too slow to react to the threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). .
“In responding to an $80 billion foot-and-mouth disease threat to our economy, Labor has taken more than four weeks to install floor mats at airports, allowing tens of thousands of people to cross our borders from there. Indonesia despite our pleas,” Mr Littleproud said.
“They still haven’t offered 3D X-ray technology to Indonesian airports and haven’t banned returning travelers from carrying food from Indonesia.”
“The measures were all necessary, especially when the federal government’s one million vaccines for Indonesia have only just arrived, almost seven weeks after they were promised, and none have yet been administered to livestock.
Mr Littleproud said the Labor Party’s decision to scrap the dedicated agricultural visa and limit agricultural industries to only Pacific programs had damaged confidence across the sector, which would directly lead to price hikes for farmers. families at the grocery checkout.
“Australian farmers simply cannot fill thousands of vacancies with local workers in this job market and without the Ag visa crops will not be planted and produce will literally be left to rot due to a lack of workers.
“While thousands of workers from the Pacific have arrived, farmers need a variety of skilled workers from Asia that Labor has now taken away from them. We are still short of more than 170,000 workers to meet the needs.
“The Pacific schemes have limits to farming and the removal of the farming visa means farmers have lost confidence to invest so supply will shrink and Australian food prices will continue to soar – all of this because the Australian Workers Union said no to the agricultural visa”.
Mr Littleproud said the federal government had also shattered regional investment trust by reopening water wars and moving away from the neutrality test of social and economic impacts on communities dependent on the river.
“Labour has created fear and uncertainty in basin communities by shamelessly caving in to vested interests downtown and backtracking on a plan they had supported.
“Governments should govern for all Australians, but this one is prepared to use basin communities as pawns to win votes in city center seats vulnerable to the Greens. These are not the actions of a government that cares about all Australians.
Mr Littleproud said Labor had again attacked the confidence of the farming industry with their decision to ban exports of live sheep.
“Agriculture Minister Murray Watt says he’s banning trade in live sheep because of the science, but still hasn’t told the industry what that science is.
“The industry has reformed since 2018 and is now leading the world. Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost, especially in Western Australia, all for the wrong ideological view.
“Australian farmers are rightly worried about this new government for what they have done in just 100 days, which is eroding confidence in an industry crucial to Australia’s prosperity.”