Agricultural sector ‘out of political focus’

Farmers are disappointed by a lack of political focus on the agricultural sector during the federal election campaign.

The National Farmers’ Federation released a report Monday on how major party policies are faring for their members compared to its own election manifesto.

There have been “hits and misses” for farmers, CEO Tony Mahar said.

“There is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what the parties have committed to.

“We are a little disappointed that we have not focused more on agriculture and rural and regional communities.”

Recognizing and rewarding farmers for their land management is an issue overlooked by both major parties, he said. And while much has been said about climate change, policies are still lacking, Mr Mahar added.

The federation plans to spend $2 billion over the next four years to support the implementation of the Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework and the expansion of programs such as carbon and biodiversity programs.

Mr Mahar told AAP that while politicians have focused on the cost of living during the campaign, insufficient attention has been paid to the rising input costs paid by farmers.

“Everyone’s talking about the rising price of food, but they’re not talking about the costs farmers incur to produce that food and that fiber.”

Federation president Fiona Simson says the report was prepared ahead of Saturday’s federal election based on the agriculture group’s five priority areas.

“We’ve given them an indication of where we think they are more aligned with our policies or less aligned with or against our policies.”

Those comparable benchmarks include the granting of a farming visa to assist industry personnel, and political stances on live sheep exports.

The federation consulted with farmers, industry and regional voters about what they want from the next government.

Their manifesto focuses on workforce shortages, the interface between agriculture and climate change, biosecurity financing, connectivity, regional growth and competition laws.

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