Morrison Government’s ag education promise

Zach RelphCountryman
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack have promised a $30.9 million agriculture education package.
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack have promised a $30.9 million agriculture education package. Credit: Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

Students will step out of classrooms and on to paddocks under a multimillion-dollar Federal Government plan to counteract “extremists hell-bent on shutting down agriculture”.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced a $10 million pledge to educate students on food production, if re-elected.

The duo vowed they “won’t allow our kids to be vulnerable to anti-farming campaigns”, promising a new program to teach primary and secondary school students about primary production through on-farm visits.

The Coalition commitment will also be used to establish up to 80 mobile “mini farms” based at metropolitan schools through its iFarm initiative.

Mr Morrison took to social media on Sunday to spruik the announcement and said it would bridge the gap between city slickers and farmers.

“I want kids growing up in our cities and our suburbs all around the country to better understand just how important agriculture is to Australia’s future,” he said in a video posted online.

“That’s why we’re putting $10 million into an iFarms initiative to bring the country to the city and another $5 million to take kids in the city to the country so they can really understand it better.”

The $10 million farming education pledge is part of Mr Morrison’s $30.9 million agriculture package.

The commitment, to be delivered if the Coalition is successful at the Federal election on May 18, also includes a $220,000 injection to promote agriculture as a study option.

A $20 million Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program to ensure regional agricultural shows’ longevity and a $720,000 pledge to Agricultural Shows Australia are also bundled within the promise.

The money will be invested in ASA, which represents more than 580 agricultural shows nationwide, over four years.

It is tipped to ensure ASA-operated shows and programs are upgraded and remain relevant into the future.

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