Crunch time for ag's green paper

30 Sep, 2014 07:59 AM
A seminal document that will underpin the industry’s strategic direction

THE federal government’s highly anticipated green paper on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper is due to be discussed in federal cabinet today.

Speaking to the media yesterday, federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce confirmed the green paper would go before cabinet this week but was unable to confirm when it would be released for public feedback.

“I’ll leave that to the hands of my colleagues,” he said.

But Mr Joyce said after 700 submissions the government document had undergone “the most formative white paper process that I think that our nation has ever seen”.

“To give proper respect to those who have put their deliberations into contributing to that white paper, we had to make sure that it was a document that really, when they picked it up, they could say ‘my input is in this document’,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure that happened.”

Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has repeatedly criticised the Abbott government’s delay in releasing the green paper, which was due mid-year.

“Here we are more than halfway through September and it is nowhere to be found,” he said recently.

“What I was afraid was going to be 12 months of policy inertia looks like it will be even longer.

“This inertia leaves the agricultural sector with no clear policy and strategic guidance from government at a time of enormous challenge and opportunity.

“I will continue to hold Barnaby Joyce to account for his promises to the agricultural sector.”

Mr Joyce says the white paper is a seminal document that will underpin the industry’s strategic direction and help to improve farmgate returns to primary producers.

An issues paper released in February this year contained nine key points used to ignite feedback from industry stakeholders which closed in late April.

The process for developing the white paper is being managed by the Prime Minister’s office with the final document expected to be presented to cabinet by the year’s end.

The paper is also expected to link in with other key Coalition election policy documents including foreign investment, agricultural land use and a root-and-branch review of competition policy.

Key issues such as food security, farmgate returns, debt, drought management, supply chain competitiveness, investment, job creation, infrastructure, skills and training, research and development, regulatory effectiveness and market access, are expected to be addressed.

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


30/09/2014 4:14:37 PM

By seminal I hope you don't mean 'highly original'?!!
1/10/2014 6:50:56 AM

It's being "managed" by the Prime Minister's office. Barnaby has repeatedly been nobbled by Tony Abbott. Don't hold your breath!
john from tamworth
1/10/2014 9:04:07 AM

So we have a green paper on the white paper.What colour is next?
1/10/2014 9:46:58 AM

Joel needs to pull his head in because Labor never did anything that helped the family farm; never acted on foreign buy-out of Australia (land and industry) and had no long-term future for Australia in mind (except to get re-elected). Criticising what the current Government is doing so only because he is opposition relies on the public having short memories. The coalition action has to be better, albeit only just because jobs continue to be sent offshore and our assets bought by foreign interests. Australia’s sovereignty and future is at stake here.
Bushie Bill
1/10/2014 4:34:06 PM

Perce old son, economic illiteracy is not a good look, and is a guaranteed path to the equivalent of the worst features of controlled economies. There is no way we are going back to the medieval era of Bob Menzies an Black Jack Mac. Get over it and try to do something on your own, without a guaranteed outcome from the Australian taxpayers.
2/10/2014 11:18:53 AM

Bushie, I am a self established full-time farmer who has done the hard yards without any gov handouts (Diesel rebate is not a subsidy & could never get drought assistance even though I tried) and now with grandchildren probably have a longer term view in mind. I do wonder whether you have had any real achievements or have bludged off the system by taking high wages without giving a real days work in return. Australia did have a future when we developed and built up manufacturing after WW2 but sadly we are now being turned back in to a quarry and tourist park with real jobs sent offshore.
Bushie Bill
2/10/2014 5:03:04 PM

You have to learn to change with the times; adapt and adjust as required to survive and prosper, Perce. Otherwise, you go the way of the dinosaurs. Not a pleasant thought, is it Perce? As an economy, we are far past the stage of manufacturing being the economic driver. That is for developing countries. Is that where you would like to return to Perce? If so, you probably deserve to be there, with all its failures for the Australian people that it created. It was an age where our inferiority complex was a multiple of what it currently is and our standard of living reflected its mediocrity.


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