A commitment towards further investment in innovation, science, research and development (R&D) is critical to the advancement of the Australian agricultural sector on both national and international platforms, according to WAFarmers.
“Australia’s work and commitment to maintaining and improving our integrity systems underpins our international reputation as a high-quality, safe, ethical and sustainable producer, so continuing to invest and innovate in this area is fundamental,” WAFarmers President Tony York said.
“To maintain our position as an international leader by improving productivity and guaranteeing agricultural supply, the government needs to capitalise on global opportunities and live up to the full potential of the industry by committing further funding to biosecurity, internet access and telecommunications infrastructure, and R&D.”
Mr York said Australia’s biosecurity laws were among the most stringent in the world thanks to the government’s continued efforts in keeping Australia clean and green.
“The government must continue to protect this unique status through funding to support biosecurity activities without challenge or being subject to government budget cuts,” he said.
Mr York said the roll-out of the $29.5 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) needed to be completed as quickly as possible and complemented by injections of funding into the upgrading of existing telecommunications services.
“Business success, personal safety, social interaction and access to education for regional areas all rely on telecommunications services, and by committing additional funds, eliminating mobile black spots, and completing the roll-out of the NBN, opportunities will be unlocked for farmers and businesses previously unable to connect to reliable services,” he explained.
“We welcome the $60 million announcement from the Coalition Government last week towards eliminating mobile black spots, and we implore the other parties to make similar commitments towards increasing connectivity.
“Not only do we call on the government to promptly complete the roll-out of NBN for rural and remote communities, but we implore them to urgently consider modern farming practice and offer multiple NBN connections per land title, as opposed to one connection per title as is still the case in some areas.”
Mr York also said that continued commitment was needed from the Federal Government and all other parties to match industry levy funding in R&D.
In response to changing regional weather patterns, Mr York stated that the government needed to encourage and fund further research into biotechnology advances which could result in alternative grain varieties.
“Australia needs a strong legislative environment that allows growers to conduct research to explore alternative grain varieties, but also protects Australia’s wider economic, environmental and social platforms,” he said.
“All in all, further government investment in innovation, science and R&D will support productivity and profitability increases within Australia and will work towards meeting anticipated demand from export markets, in particular the Asian region.”
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].