Grain Producers Australia’s 2022 Federal Election Policy Priorities document has been released, calling for targeted policy measures with investments, to deliver a more profitable and sustainable future for the Australian grains industry.
GPA Chair Barry Large said delivering greater returns and resilience for Australian grain producers and rural communities, is at the centre of GPA’s election advocacy platform and initiatives.
“We may be coming off a record Australian grains harvest of 62 million tonnes last year, estimated at about $26 billion, but we can’t afford to be complacent. We need to focus on how and where to invest these returns now, to build future growth and resilience for growers,” he said.
“We need to deliver outcomes in areas Australian grain producers need it most, such as managing seasonal fluctuations and other core production challenges, and provide greater stability and strength, for the communities and economies we support.”
Mr Large said GPA’s election platform calls for a long-term strategic view of the Australian grains industry with investments from these recent record returns, to optimise future performance.
He said this strategy also needed to be underpinned by genuine collaboration with key industry groups and partners, to help produce more grain and enhanced value for the national economy.
“The Australian grains industry may be experiencing record high grain prices and that’s good news for the nation’s second biggest agricultural sector. But record high input prices for fertiliser, fuel and chemical also means we’re carrying far greater risks into our next crop,” he said.
“If Australian grain producers are being asked to produce more, but with less, to help feed a growing global population that’s forecast to reach 10 billion people by 2050, we need the backing of smart investments and strategic planning, to help manage production volatility and remain sustainable.”
GPA’s 2022 Election Priorities provides a list of initiatives and projects designed to enhance performance in key policy areas such as optimising grain market competition and export market access to deliver flow-on social and economic benefits, including job creation.
GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said government backing for increased local manufacturing, in green fertilisers for example, can help manage production risks for a key input, but will also deliver sustainability benefits for Australian grain producers, with value-adding opportunities.
“Strategic reinvestment of returns from this year’s record crop – especially the record government levies growers will be paying – can help deliver long-term drought resilience and limit our industry’s exposure to significant supply chain risks and vulnerabilities, caused by external factors,” he said.
“With the threat of conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, and after two years of COVID-19, these negative supply chain influences will continue to have significant impacts with economic pressures.
“The more government can do to invest at this time and support producers proactively in these core production areas, the less need for direct government subsidies or intervention, to help manage climate risks and other seasonal challenges.
“This is especially critical given Australian grain producers compete in global markets against other exporting countries that provide significant government policies, to directly support producers.”
Mr Large said GPA’s Election Priorities reflected the seven core themes of the Federal Government’s ‘Delivering Ag2030’ document, which outlines specific goals and programs to support the farm sector’s aspirations to reach $100 billion by 2030.
He said investment in national biosecurity, to deliver a safer and more modern, effective and cohesive system, is also critical to GPA’s members.
“Protecting Australia’s biosecurity status and reputation also supports market access and avoids unnecessary costs and disruptions for producers,” he said.
“Optimising market competition, increasing local manufacturing, opening export market access, reducing freight costs, cutting red tape, providing more skilled workers on grain farms and delivering faster, more reliable digital connectivity, will also help to achieve these goals and support growers.
“Continuous improvement in farm safety and industry safety is also a key priority for GPA and something we can always do more to improve outcomes.”
Mr Bettles said GPA welcomes the opportunity to engage with government and industry stakeholders on GPA’s Election Priorities, to help deliver a more profitable and sustainable industry.
He said GPA will now write to each of the major political parties, and selected independents, seeking their response to key questions on these policy priorities. Their responses will be posted on GPA’s election advocacy campaign website, to encourage engagement and accountability.
Summary of GPA’s 2022 Federal Election Policy Priorities
Increase Supply of Skilled Workers on Grain Farms
Better Digital Connectivity to Boost Farm Productivity
ACCC to Conduct Study of Australian Grain Markets to Optimise Competition
Increase Government Investment in Local Manufacturing Initiatives
Grow Export Trade and Market Access for Australian Grains
High Level Strategic Analysis/Investment to Reduce Grain Freight Costs
Increased Focus on Preventative Biosecurity Measures to Protect Australian Grains
Improved Access and Application for Agricultural Pesticides and Technology
Remove Restrictive Grains Industry Red Tape and Costs
Improved Independent Oversight of Grain Levies
Strategic Taxation Reforms to Optimise Farm Resilience and Production
Sharpen Grain Farm and Community Focus of Sustainability and Resilience Programs
Full policy document and GPA’s 2022 Federal Election Campaign Page CLICK HERE.