‘Challenging’ is the word I would use to describe the NSW agriculture industry in 2017. But despite the hardships, the industry’s seen some great wins and I’m proud to say NSW Farmers’ Association has certainly played a major role.
NSW Farmers is a fierce supporter of Inland Rail, and we were pleased to see our lobbying efforts help to secure $8.4 billion for the project in this year’s Federal Budget. Our Grains Committee continued its mission to improve the supply chain, ensuring investments through the government’s $400 million Fixing Country Rail project.
The Association has been instrumental in ensuring regional NSW’s voice is heard regarding electricity. We released the Future of Electricity in Regional NSW discussion paper, a blueprint for state and federal governments on affordable and reliable energy. We contributed to Essential Energy’s decision not to increase their tariffs, despite the Federal Court decision allowing them to do so. This saved regional users up to 10 per cent on their electricity costs.
We are proud to have initiated the development of the Young Farmer Business Program, and were pleased to see it receive a $6 million dollar budget to fund the next four years of extension activities to help build business capacity in the next generation.
In the livestock space we continued to advocate for less regulation and retaining the current traceability system, ensuring it remains practical for producers. We’ve also been at the forefront of ag innovation establishing a coalition to create a Research Centre for high tech food processing and intensive production and we’ve been actively promoting the establishment of a high tech food precinct adjacent to the Western Sydney Airport, to boost export supply capability for premium foods. These initiatives are just the tip of the iceberg. We look forward to even more policy wins for our farmers in 2018.
- NSW Farmers’ president Derek Schoen