AUSTRALIAN Minister Malcolm Turnbull has celebrated National Agriculture Day by meeting with people intimately involved in the farm sector, working at the Sydney Growers Market.
Mr Turnbull spoke to media after touring the food market this morning with Assistant Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Craig Laundy.
Australian agriculture is being celebrated today with a series of events and promotions throughout the nation including a gala dinner at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra tonight.
Mr Turnbull and Mr Laundy spoke about the impact of the government’s business tax cuts on agriculture and small businesses linked to food production and the value of increasing farm export trade, to new liberalised markets.
👨🌾🇦🇺👩🌾🇦🇺— Michael McCormack MP (@M_McCormackMP) November 20, 2017
Celebrate our farmers & the agricultural industry:
- 99% Australian owned
- 480,000+ people employed
- Valued at over $58 billion
- Avg farmer feeds 400 Australians a year & 600 people around the 🌏
Happy #Agday! @NationalFarmers@OzFarmerspic.twitter.com/8WnpAC48a5
“Most of these businesses - vast majority - are benefitting from lower tax, which means they can invest more, and it means they can employ more,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Our determination is to ensure that we have more dollars left in the pockets of hardworking Australians.
“We want to make sure that all of these hardworking Australians here, and right around the country, have more money that they can spend on their businesses, on their families, to realise their dreams.”
Mr Turnbull said National Agriculture Day was a “very, very important day to celebrate”.
“You see the fruit and the vegetables of Australian agriculture here at the markets,” he said.
“It's always a sentimental journey for me at the markets.
Today is the first ever National Agriculture Day! It’s time to reflect on what makes Australian agriculture great. Share your thoughts with us by sending through a comment. Happy #AgDay!#harvest17#harvest2017#agricultue#grains#crops#farmlife#farmlifeisbestlifepic.twitter.com/MjIVoWnoXs— CBH Group (@cbhgroup) November 20, 2017
“Of course, I used to work at the fruit and vegetable markets when they were in the Haymarket, which, of course, was prior to 1975, which gives you an idea of how long ago it was.
“But this is where Australia's finest produce comes to be sold and bought, and we met a number of the sellers and the buyers here today, we met some of the growers.
“We met Joe, grows lemons up on Mangrove Mountain.
“We met Alex Taylor, who is an exporter and this is what he had to say.
“He said that not only are our big export trade deals in Asia, China, Japan, Korea, opening up more markets for him and so many other Australian agricultural exporters - but also he praised the Department of Agriculture.
“I'm sure that was Barnaby (Joyce's) hard work prior to my being the Agriculture Minister for a few weeks.
“But he praised the Department of Agriculture for the work that it has done in opening up the opportunities in China and negotiating all the regulatory, behind-the-border rules and red tape that can often stand in the way of exports.”
Mr Turnbull said “everything we're doing is opening up opportunities for Australian exporters” including the new free trade agreement with Peru recently signed by the federal government.
“We had very little access to that market for our agricultural exports,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Now 99 per cent of tariffs have been reduced - have been removed in terms of exports to Peru.
“You'll see some of the fruit and vegetables here heading over to South America in the future.
“Everything we do is focused on delivering more opportunity for hardworking Australians.
“So, whether it is tax cuts, at the business level, at the middle-income level, whether it's opening up those big trade deals, we are working, backing Australian business, Australian enterprise, Australian families.”
Other members of federal parliament acknowledged National Agriculture Day through various methods including posting on social media, like rural SA Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey.
“National Agriculture Day today is a good time to remind the general population how valuable agriculture is to this country,” he said.
“Agriculture is South Australia's biggest export sector, providing a huge boost to our state's economy and standard of living.
“The ag sector also employs one in five South Australians.
“As a country we have strong food security and we need to thank our farmers who risk their dollars to produce our food.
“We can be equally proud we are world leaders in adopting technology and farming practice and consequently are some of the best farmers in the world.”
Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Luke Hartsuyker – stepping in for Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce who is facing a by-election due to his citizenship disqualification – said National Agriculture Day was all about getting much-deserved recognition for the nation’s $60 billion agriculture sector.
“Today is about spreading the word and putting the facts and figures out there to show the size and scale of Australian agriculture’s contribution,” he said.
“It’s a sector that continues to perform year on year and is one of the cornerstones of the Australian economy with the value of Australian agricultural production exceeding $60b for the first time in 2016-17.
“The total value of Australian farm exports have increased by $7b over the past six years - from $38b in 2012-13 to a forecast $45.2b in 2017-18.
“Agriculture is the lifeblood of many rural and regional communities, with agriculture and affiliated industries providing jobs to around 12 million Australians.
“National Agriculture and Related Industries Day is about getting much-deserved recognition for our agriculture sector and related industries, such as transport and rural supplies businesses, stock and station agents and accountants.
“We want Australians to stop for a moment as they tuck into their breakfast, lunch or dinner, and think about the efforts of those who produced their meal.
“Our farmers are world class and feeding people the world over and our premium produce is well sought after.”