I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas, and that your belts are being a little more forgiving than mine after what was a great day of family, faith, and food.
Farmers are, at their core, optimists who prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. And while I don't want to dismiss some of the challenges our members have faced over the past year; fires, flooding, poor prices, biosecurity incursions and tough market conditions, 2023 did give us things to be thankful for.
We have seen in recent weeks a renewed scrutiny on our major supermarkets and competition reform more generally, a very good thing. For too long our farmers have been the first to face a price cut, and the last to get a price rise, while the consumers pay more and more for their food and the big middlemen hoard their treasure. This is not a good thing for agriculture or Australia's food security, and NSW Farmers will continue to push this issue in 2024, where we hope to secure a fairer go for the people who grow our food and fibre.
Our state is closer to having a Biosecurity Commissioner, something that is certainly needed following Varroa mite in 2022 and Red Imported Fire Ants in 2023. Every single one of these biosecurity incursions is incredibly costly in terms of response and missed economic opportunity. We're also not walking away from campaigns to reverse the Federal Government's ill-conceived tax masquerading as a levy.
Then there is the major problem of the Reserve Bank hiking interest rates to rein in inflation - something that could also be done by boosting national productivity. Sadly, we have federal policies that make it harder, not easier, to grow healthy plants and healthy animals, the very things that would help fight inflation without causing hip-pocket pain to millions.
There are things we cannot control - the weather and global economics - but what we can control is how we respond to these challenges.
- Xavier Martin, NSW Farmers president