Media Release

Ag ministers unite

5 May 2014

Leaders from Australia and New Zealand met in Melbourne on Friday, 2 May to establish the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN) and collaborate on agriculture issues of national significance.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the inaugural meeting represented national unison and the international partnerships between our primary industries.

“Collaborating with local ministers ensures good practice, but sharing knowledge with our international neighbours ensures good policy,” Minister Joyce said.

The meeting covered a range of agricultural issues including the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and Exercise Odysseus; a series of exercises aimed at enhancing the preparedness for and implementation of a national livestock standstill in response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The meeting also covered a seasonal outlook by the Bureau of Meteorology, an update on the Ministerial Working Group on Water Infrastructure and a discussion on strategic priorities for agriculture.

Minister Joyce said that ministers recognised the benefit in the recently announced Ministerial Working Group on Water Infrastructure and expressed interest in the Commonwealth’s examination of options to build water supply capacity across the country.

Another area of firm agreement amongst ministers was to pursue a united “Team Australia” approach regarding access to foreign trade markets.

“The clear message from the forum was that all governments shared the same aspirations for their primary producers – and that was to return fair prices to our producers to ensure the long-term viability of the farm sector.”

“I was particularly pleased to welcome the newly appointed ministers – Leon Bignell, South Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Jeremy Rockliff, Tasmania’s Minister for Primary Industries and Water.

“I was pleased that Nathan Guy, New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries, could also join us.”