Farm groups hail coalition win

Rueben HaleCountryman
Liberal member Rick Wilson with wife Tanya, right, and children, from left, Annalise, Emma, Phillipa and Archie, as well as supporters, after claiming the seat of O’Connor with an increased majority.
Camera IconLiberal member Rick Wilson with wife Tanya, right, and children, from left, Annalise, Emma, Phillipa and Archie, as well as supporters, after claiming the seat of O’Connor with an increased majority. Credit: Talitha Wolfe

Farming groups say the coalition victory is the best outcome for agriculture, but the Pastoralists and Graziers Association warn that it’s time to be guarded.

Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory in the Federal election, as the coalition edges towards a slim majority in Federal Parliament.

Although annihilated in WA, the Nationals did better than expected at the election and are expected to jockey for an extra Cabinet position based upon their comparatively strong result.

The National Farmers Federation, WAFarmers and the PGA say they are all ready to to work with the newly elected government to provide industry advice and input.

WAFarmers president Tony York said he was pleased the coalition could form government.

“Having undertaken research, consultation and considerable engagement with the political parties and industry throughout the election campaign, we identified the coalition Government as being the best hope for the continued development of the agricultural sector over the coming years,” he said.

“With their re-election, it is anticipated that they will continue to re-establish the competitiveness and profitability of the agricultural sector by safeguarding the agricultural supply chain, investing in research and development, building a stronger workforce, making agriculture a national priority and further developing Australian trade.

“Now it is time to deliver the results promised during the campaign period and as outlined in this year’s Federal Budget, many of which will benefit the small business sector and farmers in WA.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Government to achieve the best results for our members and the nation’s vibrant agricultural sector.”

But PGA acting election spokesman and grains committee chairman Gary McGill went further, saying it was important that WA agricultural interests were protected in the Liberal-National coalition party room.

He said the party room needed to account for the fact that WA Liberals Rick Wilson and Melissa Price were re-elected with an increased majority by voters in rural and regional electorates, while WA Nationals John Hassell and Lisa Cole recorded significant swings against them for their party.

“There is a rise of populism in the Federal sphere, with a raft of independent politicians in the Senate, which could lead to populist policies and a responsible Government should be able to resist this pressure,” Mr McGill said

“Rick and Melissa have cemented their positions supporting their constituents in O’Connor and Durack and it is very important they are supported in Canberra.”

Mr McGill said stronger Nationals representation in the partyroom could put the grains industry at risk.

“The Nationals are generally good supporters of agriculture in this country,” he said.

“But the Nationals leader and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has never been a supporter of grain marketing reforms that have been critical for maintaining WA’s competitiveness, and, in fact, has actively spoken out against it in the past.”

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

Sign up for our emails