Four Ag Ministers in six years has caused 'uncertainty': Fitzgibbon

Four Ag Ministers in six years has caused 'uncertainty': Joel Fitzgibbon

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Labor agriculture spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon. Photo: Rachael Webb

Labor agriculture spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon. Photo: Rachael Webb

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"All these faces are causing uncertainty and instability in a sector which is crying out for stability and strategic direction."

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THE constant rotation of the nation's Agriculture Minister, with four people holding the position in just six years, has brought "uncertainty and instability" to the sector, Labor agriculture spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon says.

Since 2014, Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud and Bridget McKenzie, who resigned from the role this morning following the sports rort scandal, have all held the agriculture portfolio.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull briefly held the position for 54 days when Mr Joyce stood down during dual-citizenship saga. Nationals leader Michael McCormack currently holds portfolio while the Coalition decides who will be the new minister.

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"All these faces are causing uncertainty and instability in a sector which is crying out for stability and strategic direction," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"The agriculture sector is facing drought, bushfires, trade wars and biosecurity threats - and all we have is pork barrelling and dysfunction.

"Sadly I don't expect that to change. Maybe it's time to give the Liberals a chance [with the agriculture portfolio]."

Mr Fitzgibbon said agriculture could still have a bright future, but only with a new minister who "takes the portfolio seriously, and does not engage in the reactionary and pork-barrelling culture of previous ministers".

"I don't mind saying that David Littleproud was the only minister who appeared to understand that structure change was necessary, and to divert away from the National Party playbook," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"But that's the very reason he sadly wasn't reappointed. His colleagues in the National Party didn't like his free thinking and openness to structural change.

"For starters, we need acknowledgement that the climate is going to remain a challenge, and we first have to accept that to deal with it."

A spokesperson for Mr McCormack countered by stating when Labor was in power, it "inflicted six long years of neglect and anti-agricultural policies on Australian farmers".

"Labor has no interest in unlocking the potential of our regional communities, securing their water supply, creating jobs and delivering agricultural economic opportunities," they said.

"The Nationals in government have been driving the agriculture sector towards becoming a $100 billion industry - the type of ambition the portfolio deserves, the type of ambition Labor never had for our agriculture sector, for our hard-working farmers."

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