Local food and fibre future on the menu in Wingham 

The future of food and fibre production took centre stage in Wingham for more than 80 farmers, fishers and community members at the NSW Farmers Pre-Election forum on Primary Industries. 
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, Shadow Minister Mick Veitch, Justin Field (Greens) and Robert Borsak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) all spoke at the forum and fielded questions on right to farm, milk prices, drought support, climate change, Q fever and environmental stewardship. 

NSW Farmers President James Jackson, who attended, said the forum revealed harmony between the four politicians on a number of key issues impacting primary industries. 

“There was agreement that the future of agriculture in NSW is exciting and farmers’ right to farm needs to be more strongly protected to ensure the future of local food and fibre production,” Mr Jackson

“The four parties also agreed that the Commonwealth Government must step up and place the Q-Fever vaccine on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme and that the environmental stewardship of farmers should be recognised with financial incentives.”

The future of the LLS also entered the debate, with Labor calling for an independent review, while the Nationals reinforced the importance of creating certainty and providing ongoing support for the LLS model. 

“There were also some differences in policy in relation to climate change and how to address concerns about animal activists trespassing in farms.”

“One of the key questions on the night came from a local dairy farmer asking what each party would do about $1 per litre retail milk being sold in major supermarkets,” Mr Jackson said. 

“All four speakers agreed again that $1 per litre milk is simply not sustainable and that the major supermarkets must not use fresh milk as a loss leader.”

“The NSW Farmers dairy committee has repeatedly called on the supermarkets to end $1 per litre milk and work with dairy farmers for a fair milk price.” 

As the drought deepens across many parts of the state, attendees were also keen to hear each party’s view on drought support and climate change. 

The next NSW Farmers Pre-election forum will be held in Dubbo on Wednesday 13 February and will focus on infrastructure and transport. 

Date: Wednesday 6 February 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988