Agricultural policies fail to impress NFF

Kate PollardThe West Australian
The West logo

The Liberal National party coalition has scored ahead of Labor and the Greens in an election scorecard described as "disappointing" by the National Farmers Federation.

The highest score, from the lobby groups' tool to help farmers make an informed decision when they go to the polls on Saturday, was just 13.5 out of 25.

Labor scored 8 and the Greens just 7.

The final scorecard pitted the coalition's agriculture policy, Labor's Fair go for Farmers plan and announcements by the Greens against five priority areas - growing Australian agriculture, investing in research and development, increasing competitiveness and profitability, building a stronger workforce and balancing agriculture and the environment.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


Each area was worth five stars and the highest achieved was 3.5 by the coalition for competitiveness and profitability.

NFF president Duncan Fraser said that specific score shows a substantial response to policy priorities, but fell short of being overwhelming.

Political parties have had more than six months to work on their policies after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard first announced a September election.

"It's not a satisfactory situation in terms of the relative party commitments to agriculture, but, given that, it's still a better situation than we had three weeks ago when we hadn't had any feedback on the agricultural election platform," Mr Fraser said.

The scorecard factored in the coalition's $147 million in funding, including $100 million for research development and extension, $2.2 million for native title and a promised agricultural white paper. It also took into account Labor's announcement last week to finalise the retail code of conduct and introduce standard supplier contracts and the Green's pledge of $75 million towards soil health.

But Mr Fraser said this was largely offset by the party's renewed push to ban live exports.

"This scorecard shows that one party in particular - the Coalition - has responded positively to the key priorities set by the NFF, our members and Australian farmers," he said.

"Whatever the outcome at this weekend's election, farmers need and deserve a government that considers agriculture as a key priority."

PGA wishlist *

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association seeks: *

·Complete overhaul and review of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme to ensure an animal-welfare based access to export markets.

·Reinstatement of the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme.

·Changes to the Tax Act that would permit trusts to hold farm management deposits.

·Increased Commonwealth funding for mobile phone coverage and broadband access in regional and remote areas.

·Increased funding for biosecurity, including wild dog control.

WAFarmers wishlist *

WAFarmers seeks: *

·Expand live export by refining the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme and facilitating new market access.

·Ensure financial competitiveness by maximising export income and facilitating conditions for internationally comparable interest rates.

·Maintain fuel affordability by retaining the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme for off-road diesel used in agriculture.

·Develop a plan to ensure world-leading research, development and extension.

·Establish robust foreign-investment policy. Develop a policy which recognises the importance of international flows of capital.

NFF wishlist *

The National Farmers' Federation seeks: *

·Grow Australian agriculture by committing to Blueprint priorities and increase agriculture's share of the federal budget.

·Increase expenditure on research and development by one per cent of total national research and development budget by 2015.

·Increase global competitiveness and profitability by reducing red tape, balancing market power and driving infrastructure investment.

·Build a stronger workforce by including agriculture in the national curriculum and allow individual flexibility agreements to be completed pre-employment.

·Balance agriculture and the environment including an overhaul of drought support measures.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails