A rotten free trade deal with Europe will be the final nail in the coffin for the Federal Government's relationship with farmers, which has suffered through several bad decisions of late.
Despite repeated warnings of the negative impact on food and fibre productivity, we are deeply concerned the Albanese Government will sign up to deal with Europe that will really hurt the agriculture sector for decades.
This government has shown it's only interested in farmers for photo opportunities, with little interest in working constructively to strengthen the sector. Instead, they seem determined to make it harder to grow the healthy plants and healthy animals that feed and clothe us, and while we've tried to be proactive and provide solutions, they have tin ears.
We cannot be clearer: If Trade Minister Don Farrell signs us up to a dodgy deal with Europe, it will be proof this government doesn't care about the farmers who grow our food and fibre.
The Australian agriculture industry has long supported a free trade agreement with the European Union, provided it delivers meaningful access to this large, high value market. But the existing deal on offer is one-sided and will have direct negative impacts on Australian food and fibre producers.
If we were to accept this deal as it stands, Australian farmers will be at a direct disadvantage to all our commercial competitors like Canada, New Zealand, and South America for the next 50 years.
For example, the imposition of the EU's Geographical Indicators regime is estimated to cost Australia between $70 and $90 million, without decent market access in return.
The Federal Government has already seriously damaged its standing with farmers, whether it's undermining critical agencies farmers trust, or gutting productive water, or covering the countryside in glass and fans.
It's time for the political games to stop. Farmers, their land, water, and production - and indeed the future security of Australia's food supply - should not face decades of disadvantage for a quick photo opportunity.
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