Member for Murray Sharman Stone said the Federal Government had to think of the future of Australia's farmers rather than giving away their bargaining power on just ''any deal''.TRENT HORNEMAN April 11, 2014 3:15am
Member for Murray Sharman Stone believes Australian farmers have ‘‘taken a bullet’’ after the Federal Government signed a trade agreement with Japan this week.
Dr Stone was critical of the tariff cuts for dairy and beef exports, which she said were lower than expected, as well as a total snub for the rice industry.
‘‘We have done away with our bargaining power,’’ she said.
‘‘By not having tariffs on our imports, we have no leverage.
‘‘While Labor left us well behind in the race for free trade agreements with our key competitors in our key markets, we must not let anyone think that we can be panicked into ‘any deal will do’.’’
Dr Stone said the Federal Government needed to do more to put money back into Australian farms.
She believed the power of supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, loose dumping regulations and the high cost of water were damaging farmers.
‘‘There is massive review and reform needed,’’ she said.
‘‘It is time for the Government to be forward thinking and spend the time in working, co-operating with and supporting farmers.’’
This week Dr Stone and 15 regional farmers met with Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper Task Force members in Shepparton.
Dr Stone said dairy, fruit, cereal, seed and wine producers were unanimous in their concern for the long-term viability of Australian farming.
‘‘Farmers in Australia are simply not being paid enough for their product,’’ she said.
While farmers were given a good hearing, as a group and individually, at the Shepparton meeting, Dr Stone said the Federal Government needed action.
When asked if she was confident whether any of the issues raised in the white paper would materialise, Dr Stone said:
‘‘You have to have confidence, otherwise you will never get out of bed in the morning,’’ she said.
Dr Stone said the findings from white paper discussion should be known at the end of the year.
Hafizullah Mohaqiq was born in Afghanistan, spent periods living in Pakistan and Iran, before arriving in Shepparton two months ago.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Fairley Leadership Program met in Tatura on Wednesday, exploring ‘Water and our catchment’ at Goulburn Murray Water.
Two descendants of World War I soldiers planted a Lone Pine tree at Echuca cemetery last week to honour the Anzacs, including their grandparents.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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