Media Release

Agriculture White Paper

9 December 2013

Australia has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine the competitiveness of the nation’s agriculture industry, according to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Announcing the terms of reference of the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper today, Minister Joyce said the goal of the paper would be to generate jobs, impact farm gate returns, investment and economic growth in one of Australia’s key export industries.

“The White Paper will be about bringing history, our natural competitive advantage and our future together,” Minister Joyce said.

“We have a unique set of assets in Australia, and proximity to the fastest growing markets in the world. This paper will be about asset building and national wealth - it will be an examination without prejudice of Australia’s natural competitive advantage into the future.”

The White Paper will develop recommendations for boosting agriculture’s contribution to economic growth, export and trade, innovation and productivity by building capacity and enhancing the profitability of the sector.

“A vibrant, innovative and competitive agriculture sector will lead to better returns to farmers, more jobs, more investment and stronger regional communities,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia is a leading agricultural producer and exporter, and the sector has considerable opportunities for future growth creating a greater overall breadth and strength for the Australian economy.

“As a nation we must encourage a strong agricultural sector, with primary producers that remain among the most innovative in the world.

“We are committed to building a plan together with farmers that will help us increase production and export our top quality products to markets across world.”

Those with an interest in the sector are encouraged use the current period to generate ideas that will chart the path to a sustained, vibrant and innovative future for agriculture.

An issues paper for the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper will be released in the coming weeks ahead of extensive consultation with industry and the community.

“We are encouraging people to have their say with this important policy document, and we want a wide cross-section of Australians to contribute,” Minister Joyce said.

The Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper will consider issues including food security, improving farmgate returns, debt, drought management, supply chain competitiveness, investment, job creation, infrastructure, skills and training, research and development, regulatory effectiveness and market access.

The White Paper process will also provide the opportunity to review, in consultation with industry, whether guidelines relating to drought preparedness and in-event drought measures are adequate.

Building on our strengths in agriculture is part of the Government’s plan to build a diverse 5-Pillar economy to generate jobs and deliver a stronger, more prosperous economy.

The terms of reference will be available at agriculturalcompetitiveness.dpmc.gov.au.