JOEL FITZGIBBON, shadow Federal agriculture minister has used a speech at the Australian Grains Industry Conference to attack red tape, protectionalist policies and anti-foreign sentiment.
Mr Fitzgibbon said the Labor Party was committed to undoing unnecessary red tape surrounding agriculture.
“The port access legislation, for instance, it is there to cover no one, it just presents added bureaucracy and adversely effect the industry.”
He said the ALP would also work to protect Australia from the growing protectionalist sentiments flourishing around the globe.
“The punters in Australia know open trade is important, they are not against foreign workers, so long as they don’t displace Aussie workers.”
Mr Fitzgibbon said Australia’s agriculture industry did not need any protectionalist policies to survive.
“Implementing any policies along these lines would send the wrong message about our industry – we have a premium product and a thriving sector that does not need propping up.”
Instead, he said the ALP’s policy priorities in agriculture would be to reinvigorate the supply chain.
“Ag can’t be healthy without a healthy supply chain and it frustrates me when the industry sees everyone outside the farmgate as an enemy.”
Answering a question from a Chinese delegate at the conference, Mr Fitzgibbon said the ALP would be welcoming to Chinese investors.
“The ALP is non-discriminatory; there will be the same rules for investors from all countries,” he said.
He said the party would not look to attach conditions to any investment deals but would instead seek to broker a deal through discussions to maximise the broader benefits to the nation from any capital injection.