Member for Mallee Anne Webster has congratulated the Wimmera’s David Jochinke on his election as President of the National Farmers Federation, and lauded his strong stance calling out the Albanese Labor Government’s appalling treatment of farming communities.
“Labor appear to have taken a scorched earth mantra to their policy decisions without any concern for the harm they are causing to regional farming communities.’ Dr Webster said. Mr Jochinke has attacked Labor for actively pursuing a “niche ideological agenda at the expense of farmers”, pushing the Government to implement a mandatory code of conduct for energy transmission projects and labelling Labor’s push to amend the Murray Darling Basin Plan and restart water buybacks as “reprehensible”.
“I am pleased David has echoed the words of the National Party to call on the Government to re-instate a dedicated Agricultural Worker Visa following Labor’s scrapping of the former Coalition Government initiative. It is pleasing to see David make a strong start to his presidency. His policy priorities are almost a carbon-copy of exactly what I and the Nationals have been advocating for. The Mallee electorate is being treated as a dumping ground for bad policy by out-of-touch Labor,” Dr Webster said.
“Mallee farmers such as David are deeply aware the fallout of urban-centred Labor politicians’ ill-conceived policies directly impacts food and fibre production. From Stawell to Kerang, the VNI West project is threatening prime agricultural farmland to meet Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s green agenda on steroids. Along the Murray Darling Basin Water Minister Tanya Plibersek is happy to rip up the socioeconomic neutrality test to bring back water buybacks that in the past have left patchwork quilts of irrigated and non-irrigated properties alongside each other as part of her amended Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“One thing is for sure, families are feeling it at the checkout, with oils and fats up 34 per cent, cheese up 27 per cent, bread up 24 per cent, breakfast cereals and eggs are up 20 per cent and milk up 23 per cent already. We said before the election it wouldn’t be easy under Albanese, and it certainly has not been for farmers or families.”
A recent survey by the NFF found 54 per cent of farmers think Labor’s policies are harming the industry. “Labor and their Agriculture Minister Murray Watt have little regard for the concerns of farmers – they just do not care,” Dr Webster said.
“I have been fighting for these issues long and loud. Whether it be on transmission lines, water buybacks and biodiversity levies, the Albanese Labor Government continues to drive ideology rather than listening to the concerns of those on the ground who are affected the most.”