Our Food and Fibre Future Plan for Northeast NSW
Our plan for food security, fibre production and healthy farming in Northeast NSW will:
-Ensure the ongoing prosperity of farmers, their employees and the local businesses and communities that rely on farming.
-Provide $120 million in low interest loans for agriculture.
-Establish a local food fund.
-Establish a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food Security, Agricultural Sustainability and Healthy Lifestyles.
-Establish proper pricing for farm gate produce. Implementing the recommendations of the NSW Fresh Food Pricing Report of 2018 will require the independent conviction of Greens politicians untroubled by the intervention of corporate donors. We back the Report’s recommendation of the establishment of a NSW Commissioner for Agriculture to advocate on behalf of the farming sector and help rebalance power relationships in supply chains.
-Protect Agricultural and Rural Land through State Planning Policies that cannot be overridden by future governments with mining, unsustainable development or industrial agendas.
-Create incentive mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions and improve soil fertility. Minimise health risks from pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, food additives and food-borne diseases.
-Improve the region’s biosecurity.
-Create business incentives to encourage indigenous businesses growing and selling indigenous foods.
-Introduce a local and sustainable first procurement policy for all government contacts in the north east.
-Ensure a supply and marketing mechanism to provide our public schools and hospitals with fresh, locally grown produce.
The Northern Rivers is a place like no other. With rainfall and fertile soil, we are positioned to lead the way in NSW as a food and fibre hub…
Sue Higginson-Dryland Rice Farmer
As a rice farmer and a founder of of the Northern Rivers Rice Growers Association Sue has first experience as a local farmer in a new and emerging agricultural sector. Sue has experienced first hand the lack of support from the National Party for this industry as it prioritised the multinational company Sunrice in the Riverina over small farmers in our region.
Attracting young people to farming
It is well known that farmers in Australia are aging
and there are fewer young people who are following
their parents onto the land or taking up a career
in agriculture. The high cost of purchasing and
setting up a farm, combined with the lure of higher
salaried jobs in the city is driving many young people away. This has led to a median age of farmers of
approximately 56, compared to 39 for all employed
persons. In fact, only 2% of farmers are under 24,
in comparison to 17% of all employed persons, and
over 70% of farmers are over 45. This presents a
significant challenge for the agricultural sector.
In order to assist with the upfront costs of setting
up a farm and encourage more young people to take
up agriculture, we would make available low interest
loans available to eligible young people, under our
Young Farmers Finance Scheme. Low interest loans,
of between $5000 and $50,000, could then be used
to pay for the operating expenses of the enterprise.