Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says a strong farming sector will provide economic opportunities for all Australians, not just those on the land.
The federal government is looking for ideas on how to boost the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s agriculture sector.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce on Monday announced the terms of reference for a white paper, and the establishment of a task force to consult with stakeholders.
Mr Joyce said the goal of the paper was to generate jobs, improve farm gate returns, consider food security and increase agriculture’s contribution to Australia’s wider economic growth.
Australia’s natural competitive advantage, and proximity to the fastest growing markets in the world, presented the agriculture sector with a strong future, he said.
“We are in the right place, at the right time, with the right product to sell, especially as Asia moves towards the middle class,” he told reporters in Canberra.
An issues paper will be released in the coming weeks, ahead of consultation with industry and community groups.
Mr Joyce said he was hoping for the widest possible participation from peak industry bodies, farming groups and community organisations in this process.
“This gives the Australian people a chance to participate in Australia’s agricultural future,” he said.
The white paper will also examine whether the national guidelines for drought preparedness are adequate.
Nationals MP Andrew Broad said it was important the policy settings were right to deliver good outcomes for Australia’s farming producers and exporters.
A national food plan announced by the former Labor government in May had “some value” and it would be worth keeping some of those ideas in mind, he said.
“I think it would be naive to just completely scrap everything,” he told reporters.