Farmers say there's plenty of room to improve in policies

Mike Knott

LABOR has attempted to paint the Coalition as showing "contempt" for farmers by failing to respond to calls for election priorities from the National Farmers Federation.

But the nation's top farming group hasn't been all that happy with how low agriculture has been on all political parties' agendas.

In a media release from Labor this week, Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said "it was time the Coalition's contempt and arrogance for rural and regional Australia was put under the spotlight".

He said the Coalition was "parading personalities like Barnaby Joyce" around to hide "the fact they have no policies".

While NFF's president, Duncan Fraser, noted an absence of Coalition agricultural policies to date, he also said there remained "much room for improvement" from all parties.

"We are now less than three weeks out from the election, and although agriculture, food and fibre now rate a mention from the major parties, we are not as high on the priority list as we would like," he said.

Mr Fraser said there were some positives from each party, including Labor's National Food Plan, the Coalition's promise to cut red tape, and the Greens pledge to increase support for research and development.

"However, there is much room for improvement from all parties with just weeks remaining in the campaign," he said.

"We want to see politicians reprioritising agriculture in the national agenda, and an improved recognition of how important agriculture is to all Australians."

Topics:  farming federal election 2013

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