A GOOD STORY TO TELL

Supporting local farmers: Australian politician Rick Wilson has represented the people of O’Connor in Federal Parliament since 2013. He was born in Katanning, Western Australia, and was a farmer before entering politics.
Supporting local farmers: Australian politician Rick Wilson has represented the people of O’Connor in Federal Parliament since 2013. He was born in Katanning, Western Australia, and was a farmer before entering politics.

Show season is a wonderful time of the year.

It represents the start of the new season.

A chance to catch up with friends and neighbours before harvest begins in earnest.

And an opportunity to reflect on what’s happening in our local, state and national agriculture sectors.

In O’Connor, we have a pretty good story to tell.

In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production across the Wheatbelt was $5 billion – $1.5 billion worth of wheat, $1.2 billion of canola and $860 million of barley, with significant contributions from wool, sheep, beef, dairy and fishing sectors.

In Esperance, it’s shaping up to be another good harvest.

Sadly, severe frost has impacted on many crops, but overall, we are in a decent position.

Across the nation, the gross value of farm production is forecast to remain at near-record highs, with farm exports expected to reach $47 billion in 2018–19.

Market access is key to continued growth.

Since coming into government, we [The Liberals] have placed a special emphasis on gaining better access to high-value global markets.

So far this year we have secured the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and signed the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

This follows free-trade agreements with Korea, Japan, and China, which have led to reduced import tariffs on many Australian products, with further tariff reductions scheduled over the coming years.

And the May Budget included more than $51 million to grow agricultural exports and ensure we continue to capture the gains from free trade agreements.

Many sheep producers are feeling uncertain about the future of the live export trade, and I can assure you the Morrison government supports the continuation of the live sheep trade to the Middle East, including during the northern summer.

Right now, it’s critical to restore public confidence in the trade.

The Minister for Agriculture moved quickly to implement all 23 recommendations of the McCarthy Review to improve animal welfare standards.

Since we were elected to government in 2013, the agriculture sector has grown from a $49 billion industry to a $67 billion industry.

We set about creating an environment for agriculture to succeed - and it has.

Australian farmers are feeding people the world over.

And our premium produce is well sought after.

Profitable and productive farm business underpins thriving regional communities, the national economy and a better way of life for all.

It all starts here.