Grain Producers Australia says Labor’s federal election victory presents an opportunity to engage constructively in renewed discussions on key policy priorities for the Australian grains industry.
GPA Chair and WA grain producer, Barry Large, said GPA now welcomed the opportunity to work with the incoming Labor government and relevant ministers such as agriculture, trade and transport, to ensure grain producer views are central to their future plans and policy development agendas.
“We congratulate Anthony Albanese and his team on their victory at yesterday’s election, where Australian voters signalled a clear appetite for change,” he said.
“When last in government, Labor delivered some important policy reforms for the grains sector and we now anticipate the opportunity, as indicated during the campaign, to discuss how we can collaborate and help solve today’s issues.”
During the election campaign GPA wrote to each of the major parties, minor parties and independents with GPA’s policy priorities, seeking commitments.
“We were greatly encouraged by the ALP’s positive response, outlining their positive plans and demonstrating that they’re willing to listen to our issues and requests,” Mr Large said.
“The incoming government’s response recognised the substantial contribution the grains sector makes to Australian agriculture, and that we’re also a major contributor to the future prosperity of regional economies, communities, Australia’s food security and export income.
“This adds to the positive engagement we’ve had with Shadow Agriculture Minister Julie Collins and other members of the ALP. We now look forward to getting on with the job, to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for grain producers, regional communities and the national economy.”
Picture: GPA Chair and WA grain producer, Barry Large, during a recent visit to Canberra.
Mr Large said GPA also welcomed the new Prime Minister’s leadership and commitment to work with all governments and key stakeholders such as GPA, to fix problems and create a better future for Australian agriculture.
“Labor’s recognition of the importance of maintaining a thriving grains sector and a commitment to listen to our members to achieve this continued growth is very encouraging,” he said.
“Also understanding that, coming off a record harvest last year of 62 million tonnes estimated at $26 billion, the grain sector’s continued profitability and sustainability is key to achieving the agriculture industry’s projected farm gate income target of $100 billion by 2030.”
GPA Southern Director and Victorian grower, Andrew Weidemann, said these record returns from last harvest meant it was an ideal time now to invest in new policy development and initiatives, to boost the industry’s sustainability and economic growth.
“Especially in key areas such as stronger biosecurity protections, enhanced market access, optimising market competition, increased local manufacturing to reduce input costs, better digital connectivity and greater access to farm labour,” he said.
“GPA will ensure our state and grower members are at the forefront of positive engagement with the new government, to deliver the policy support we need to achieve these broader outcomes.”
In particular, Mr Weidemann said GPA anticipated meeting to discuss serious concerns about competition issues in the Australian grains market, that require action and can no longer be ignored.
“This is spearheaded by GPA’s key policy request for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct a market study of the grains supply chain. This can provide independent analysis and reforms to help resolve lingering competition issues impacting growers,” he said.
“As well as the market study, Labor has also expressed an interest in discussing the merits of GPA’s calls for a high-level strategic analysis of the grains supply chain, to identify ways of delivering investment in infrastructure, to reduce grain freight costs.”
GPA’s election policy document called for a National Roundtable of grains industry stakeholders, expert analysts and government officials, to be held within 100 days of the next government being formed, to engage on these competition matters and develop a pathway to address these concerns.
GPA also called for these processes to be used to inform and consider the viability of implementing an independent, effective mechanism to oversight and monitor pricing for grain producers, to improve transparency.
Mr Large said GPA also wanted to acknowledge and thank the outgoing Coalition government for their support of grain producers and industry. He said GPA will continuing engaging positively with representatives of the Liberals and Nationals, in Opposition.
“GPA also acknowledges the significant influence of independents and minor parties at this election. We also look forward to engaging with them more and discussing our issues, as part of our ongoing work advocating for growers and our communities,” he said.
12 key headings in 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