Media Release

Big response on the future of agriculture

1 May 2014

A bumper harvest of responses to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper will provide a wealth of ideas to take forward to the next stage of deliberation, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said today.

The first consultation stage of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process has drawn to a close with more than 600 submissions from around the country, Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said it was encouraging to see such significant interest in the issues paper consultation process with a high level of participation from agricultural industries right across Australia.

“The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper taskforce visited 33 regional and metropolitan centres throughout Australia, talking directly with about 900 farmers, producers and other industry representatives,” Minister Joyce said.

Recurring themes arising from the consultation process included:

    • profitability (including international competitiveness,  information and power imbalances – including supermarkets and processors)
    • financing (including taxation, debt, attracting new capital)
    • the image and contribution of farming to the nation
    • input costs (including regulatory burden, utilities, fertilisers, biotechnology)
    • infrastructure (including road, rail, ports, water and communications)
    • skills and workforce  (including training, employment arrangements, visa programs)
    • farm ownership (including succession, and entry and exit pathways)
    • market access and market development
    • biosecurity
    • research, development and extension.

“The key themes identified during this important part of the process will be considered as part of the development of the Green Paper, which is the next step on the way to the White Paper,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Green Paper will assess the critical issues and opportunities for improving the competitiveness of our agriculture sector and will include some possible policy directions for consideration.

“Australians will have a further opportunity to comment on the ideas distilled from the now completed first stage of consultations and presented in the Green Paper when it is released around mid-year,” Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said that the White Paper would be designed to address some of the longer term challenges identified by the industry and will help position our farmers and farm businesses to grasp the opportunities of the future.

“It will be a seminal policy document and it’s important that as many people as possible contribute to its formulation, so I encourage everyone to keep an eye out for the upcoming Green Paper and continue to have their say,” Minister Joyce said today.

For more information about the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper please visit http://agriculturalcompetitiveness.dpmc.gov.au/