Farmer group keeps up fight for income protection

Farmer group keeps up fight for income protection


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Matthew Madden, NSW Farmers grains committee chairman, says he thinks farm income protection would be a boost for grain growers.

Matthew Madden, NSW Farmers grains committee chairman, says he thinks farm income protection would be a boost for grain growers.

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NSW Farmers has vowed to keep fighting to get a workable farm income protection industry established in Australia.

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SENIOR NSW Farmers executives will continue the fight for enhanced government support of farm income protection and risk insurance, such as multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI).

NSW Farmers held a forum in Sydney last month to raise awareness about farm income protection and to look at what needs to happen to get farmer uptake to rise.

MPCI and associated products have long been touted as a means to manage Australia's notorious climate variability but providers of the products have struggled to reach the critical mass of policies required to make the sector a success.

NSW Farmers' grains committee chair, Matthew Madden said the idea of his organisation's forum was to bring together farmers, government and members of the banking and insurance sectors to collaboratively discuss the challenges to broader uptake.

"I think everyone feels that farm income protection would be valuable for farmers, but it is just how we get it up and running and get that critical mass of people participating, which the insurance sector needs to make it work."

Mr Madden said NSW Farmers wanted the government to be involved in helping provide support, primarily in the form of a premium rebate to encourage the sector to get off the ground.

Previous agriculture minister and now minister for rural finance David Littleproud had explicitly ruled out the idea of premium rebates, saying he did not think the government should be providing support to large international insurance businesses.

However, Mr Madden said a catalyst was needed to get growers involved.

"With uptake of risk management insurance products remaining stubbornly low, the sector has to ask itself: what is holding back wider adoption and how can barriers to entry be removed?"

He said he felt now was the right time to strike in terms of getting the debate about farm risk management happening again and that NSW Farmers was committed to holding further roundtable discussions on the issue over coming months.

"There is a willingness across the sector to continue to work together to overcome barriers, perceived or otherwise, to the development of a sustainable, robust and affordable risk insurance market in Australia," Mr Madden said.

Andrew Trotter, of farm insurance business Latevo Farmers Mutual, said the sector was becoming more sophisticated.

"We're looking at things such as five year models that can give farmers the long-term confidence they need," Mr Trotter said.

He said farm income protection would only become more critical into the future.

"The government wants ag to be a $100 billion business by 2030, you are not going to be able to achieve that without farmers being able to mitigate climate risk."

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