The Federal Government is set to release a review of the agri-business sector’s legal framework and has asked the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (JJCAR) to examine whether there are any gaps in the system.
The Government said it would be seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders to develop recommendations for future legislation.
The Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said the Government was “very keen” to work with the JJCAR to get its agriculture policy right.
“The agricultural law is the cornerstone of our economic security,” he said.
“If we don’t have a proper legal framework in place, the impact of the current drought will be very serious.”
The Agriculture and Water Resources Legislation Amendment Bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, will provide a legislative framework for agriculture.
It would create a Federal Agriculture Policy, set out a range of agricultural priorities, and establish a joint committee to ensure farmers are well represented in government and the Parliament.
The Joint Committee will make recommendations to the Government on agriculture and water, and also review the way in which the Federal Government implements agriculture policy.
“It’s been clear that there’s not enough in the way of farm policy advice from the States, the regional communities and the wider community,” Mr Joyce said.
“We know the agriculture sector in Australia has been hit hard by the current situation and I’m very keen to ensure that there is some help in this regard.”
The agricultural industry is a major contributor to Australia’s economic health and it’s been a big contributor to our prosperity.
“And what we’ve seen from the Government is we’ve just been looking for more and more of these things.””
We’ve had this drought, there’s been the fact there’s only been one crop left for a month, and it doesn’t seem like we’ve been able to get the farmers back on their feet,” he told ABC radio.
“And what we’ve seen from the Government is we’ve just been looking for more and more of these things.”
We’ve got a drought in the states, we’ve got the drought in Australia.
Why are we having this crisis?
Why aren’t we getting better farm management, and why aren’t the farmers getting better farming advice?
“I think there’s some big gaps in what the State Government and the Federal government are doing, particularly with regard to agriculture and the water, which is very, very important.”