Ag market access priorities receive significant funding boost
5 July 2015
Australian producers will gain better access to premium overseas markets, with $30.8 million in new funding to help us tackle technical barriers to trade and grow as well as maintain markets through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the funding would help producers realise the opportunities and benefits of free trade agreements (FTAs) recently finalised with three of Australia's largest agricultural trading partners, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
"About two thirds of all Australia's agricultural production, or more than $40 billion a year, is exported overseas each year," Minister Joyce said.
"This export focus underlines agriculture's contribution to our economy—and it is something we want to maintain as well as build to provide greater profits back to the farmgate and to the nation.
"While producers will gain significant benefits from the recently finalised FTAs the white paper consultation underlined that achieving improved market access by negotiating FTAs alone was not enough.
"The $30.8 million will go toward reducing technical barriers to trade in key markets, and to provide five new agriculture counsellors in overseas markets, promoting our products and the robustness of our assurance systems, and helping us to understand what our international customers want.
"Key to enhancing profitability of the sector is negotiating health protocols and treatment regimes to access and maintain markets that do not place unnecessary burden on our producers."
Minister Joyce said the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper was a blueprint for the future of agriculture.
"The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper fulfils our election commitment to undertake a process that listens to the realities and challenges of life on the land.
"I'm encouraged by the level of engagement this has generated and pleased to be delivering a once in a generation plan for agriculture to the Australian community."
The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation—more than 1000 submissions were received and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing this document. The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.