Australia’s agriculture sector is world-leading yet, all too often farmers are detrimentally impacted by poor public policy, which holds Australia back, according to Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Today, on National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, it is important to recognise that Australia’s wealth and prosperity has been driven by this sector since pioneering times. According to the latest international economic benchmarks, Australian farmers are the fourth most productive in the world, proving Australia still rides on the sheep’s back.
“Australia’s agriculture and related industries not only provide the food and fibre that feeds the nation, and the world, but it also generates the jobs, export revenue, and national wealth that we all share in,” Mr Wild said.
Importantly, Australians are deeply aware of the vital contribution our agricultural sector makes to the nation, but we should be doing more to back the bush. In August, the Institute of Public Affairs surveyed Australian’s attitudes towards farming, the results showed;
- A clear majority, 68%, of Australians believe that farmers and food producers are under-appreciated,
- Two and half times more Australians think farming has a positive impact on the environment (48%) than negative (18%, with 34% unsure).
- Yet, 84% underestimated the level of Australia’s food production, which is enough to feed the nation three-times over. This demonstrates we need to do more to promote the sector’s hard work.
“Despite the overwhelmingly positive attitude Australians have towards the agriculture sector and related industries, political leaders have been imposing red tape, which holds our farmers back, at an unsustainable rate,” said Mr Wild.
IPA research on the growth into red and green tape imposed on the agricultural sector found:
- The federal environmental bureaucracy has more than tripled, while employment in agriculture throughout the country has declined by one-fifth.
- The cost of the federal government’s environmental bureaucracy has grown at almost three times the rate as the size of Australia’s entire agriculture sector.
- For every job created in the environmental bureaucracy, 14 jobs have been destroyed in Australia’s agricultural sector.
“Each year, governments at all levels, impose more red tape on our farming sector to satisfy the concerns of the political class and inner-city elites,” said Mr Wild.
“Red tape prevents our farmers from being the best stewards of their land that they can be. Every minute wasted on unnecessary red tape, means a farmer is not growing the food and fibre we and the world need.”
“At a time when the agriculture sector is faced with the combined economic challenges of inflation, labour shortages, red tape, and low private investment; it is time our leaders delivered policies that backed our farmers to continue to deliver for us, just as they have done throughout our history,” said Mr Wild.
To download the IPA’s research Australia’s Economic Competitiveness In Continuing Decline click here.
To download the IPA’s research Attitudes Towards Rural And Regional Australia click here.
To download he IPA’s research Red And Green Tape is Strangling Australia’s Farming Future click here.