Agriculture to be worth $100b

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simpson speaking at the WAFarmers conference.
Camera IconNational Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simpson speaking at the WAFarmers conference. Credit: Rueben Hale

National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson says WA’s agricultural industry could be a major contributor to helping the national agricultural industry reach a net worth of $100 billion by 2030.

Ms Simson was a guest speaker at the WAFarmers conference last week, where she said the NFF believed Australian agriculture could reach that target as long as government set regulatory and public policy settings that foster growth, productivity, innovation and ambition for the sector.

Since Ms Simson was appointed president last year she has advocated strongly for the Government to support budget repair, growth incentives, a flexible labour market, competition policy reform, better communications and transport systems and a cheaper and reliable energy market to underpin a strong and sustained growth of the agricultural sector to reach the 2030 target.

She said with the correct policy settings in place, WA could rapidly increase its current 14 to 15 per cent share of the nation’s food production.

“WA agriculture will reap benefits from rising food demand in Asia, with the beef export industry alone expected to grow to $1 billion by 2030 and beyond,” she said.

“If agriculture is supported in the correct way, the geographical advantage Western Australia enjoys, compared to most other parts of the country, will give farmers and food producers a competitive edge as the Asian region’s ever greater demand for meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, sugar products and baked or processed goods develops.”

Ms Simson said at a State Government level it was important that investment in water resources, research and technology and infrastructure was made to underpin the growth opportunity.

“Agriculture needs access to reliable water resources and that can be achieved by freeing up land to tap into sources of irrigation for livestock and crops,” she said.

“By greening the outback, it not only helps the livestock industry but it could also open up the possibility of building a large northern horticulture industry to supply Asia and other parts of the world.”

Ms Simson said industry also needed to work collaboratively to identify and make the most of new market opportunities.

“Grain, livestock, horticulture and other agricultural commodities should be represented as a united brand, with the multitude of peak farming groups across the country sharing ideas and working to build a national brand like they have done in New Zealand and other parts of the world,” she said.

“We have been given assurances by The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) that they would be in favour of helping to market a united brand to key markets to help us grow our exports.”

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