Lobby group puts ag on political agenda


Agribusiness
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By JACINTA BOLSENBROEK WAFARMERS highlighted the big issues facing WA agriculture to Labor Party members at State Parliament last week. WAFarmers president Tony York said a range of issues affecting their members and the State's agricultural sector were highlighted and it would be the first of many meetings in the lead-up to the State election due in March. He said it was important for politica

By JACINTA BOLSENBROEK

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WAFARMERS highlighted the big issues facing WA agriculture to Labor Party members at State Parliament last week.

WAFarmers president Tony York said a range of issues affecting their members and the State's agricultural sector were highlighted and it would be the first of many meetings in the lead-up to the State election due in March.

He said it was important for political parties and the wider community to be aware of issues affecting the State's farmers.

"The importance of agriculture to the State economy and identity can often be forgotten, particularly in situations such as election campaigns, when a myriad of issues and groups are competing for the attention of the media, public and political parties, so we see it as a duty to our members and the agricultural sector to highlight these issues," Mr York said.

Key issues included biosecurity, transport, the future of the Fremantle Port, on-going dairy industry difficulties, the establishment of a rural firefighting service, genetically modified (GM) crops, long-term funding and support for the Department of Agriculture and Food and the need for increased funding for research and development.

Mr York said it was a productive meeting and the Labor representatives were receptive to many of the ideas and issues presented.

"We hope that by kick starting the discussion about WA's agricultural issues early, we can make the sector a priority for the parties and the voters in the lead-up to the election," he said.

Agricultural Region MLC Darren West said his party looked forward to a good working relationship with WAFarmers.

"There are a number of issues that are important to the sector at the moment, including dairy, biosecurity, the Department of Agriculture and Food and GM crops - and we look forward to discussing these and other important issues further," Mr West said.

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