NSW Farmers is the country’s largest state farming organisation representing the interests of farmers across NSW and the ACT.
It represents farmers across all agricultural commodities ranging from broadacre, livestock, wool and grain producers, to more specialised producers in the horticulture, dairy, egg, poultry, pork, oyster and goat industries. NSW Farmers has an R&D division, driving innovation across key frontiers in agribusiness.
What are the major economic challenges in rural and regional areas, and how can these be overcome?
Agriculture contributes more than $15 billion annually to the NSW economy but if NSW is to become the most valuable agricultural producing state, some economic challenges must be overcome, including around market access and competition. We need government to commit to more transparent and competitive markets and a strong competition watchdog to take action against corporations abusing market power. We also need greater investment in R&D, infrastructure, supply chain and biosecurity.
What are the major social challenges in rural and regional areas, and how can they be tackled?
Challenging access to voice and data telecommunications in regional NSW, inequitable access to some health services, struggling local economies with limited job growth potential.
Rural and regional NSW needs equitable and reliable access to essential services, utilities and social supports found in metropolitan areas. It requires a multi-faceted approach as the bush has unique challenges, but with about one-third of the NSW population connected to communities in regional, rural and remote areas, NSW Farmers believes the time has arrived for the right investments in the regions.
What are the major health challenges, and how can they be overcome?
Attracting health professionals to remote locations, access to specialist doctors and telehealth, and tackling Q fever are challenges. Access to wellness programs need to be improved to support those who experience vulnerability during times of stress. NSW Farmers is seeking $3 million from government to expand telehealth and a doubling of the number of OneHealth services. These are multi-purpose centres where a variety of health professionals collocate, making access to essential health services easier. We also want government to set aside $4.6m to tackle Q fever over the next four years.
How can young people be assisted in their desire to start a farm business?
We believe people under 35 wanting to produce the state’s food and fibre should be exempt from paying stamp duty, one of their biggest obstacles. In our state budget submission, we’ve requested the government set aside $20m per annum to assist them. It’s not just about buying a farm, but being able to build any agricultural venture into a profitable and sustainable business. NSW Farmers is a founding member of the Young Farmers Business Program, an initiative with NSW DPI.