Farmers vote no confidence in Albanese and seek Watt’s removal

Sheep Central, May 17, 2024

NFF president David Jochinke with farmer leaders who today passed a vote of no confidence in the Albanese Government.

FARMER anger over the May 2028 live sheep trade phaseout announcement continued this week with a vote of no confidence in the Albanese Government and a call for the removal of Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt.

The National Farmers’ Federation’s Members Council, Australian agriculture’s peak policy-making forum today decided the NFF no longer has confidence in the Albanese Government to act in the interests of Australian agriculture.

The council also carried motions that:

The NFF believe Cabinet and caucus have made the live export decision without considering the scientific and industry data presented in the consultation process to the detriment of all sectors of agriculture, and;

The NFF rejects the current assistance package as a token gesture and sees the only satisfactory outcome is the continuation of the trade in live sheep.

NFF president David Jochinke said the motions were unprecedented and represented a united front from the industry.

“Farmers, fishers and foresters feel they are being treated with contempt as this government pursues its single-minded policy agenda,” he said.

“There is clear disconnect between what the government is doing and what farmers need to remain profitable and productive.

“The government says it’s listening but today the agriculture sector reiterated its view – that farmers do not feel like they are being recognised,” Mr Johincke said.

“The government is putting in policy that might line up with what they think inner city voters want, but it ignores rural and regional people.

“The live sheep export ban timeframe is just the final straw,” he said.

“We’ve seen a number of seriously harmful policies from this government now.

“We say to government: Stop with the poor policy and red tape. Stop taking away our markets, our water, our workers, our land.”

Call for strategic vision for sheep industry

WA Grains Group chair Alastair Falconer

WA Grains Group chair Alastair Falconer on Wednesday this week called for the immediate removal of Minister Watt from the agriculture portfolio.

“His actions in closing the live sheep export trade has caused severe consequences for our industry and warrants urgent attention.

“Minister Watt’s decision to phase out live sheep exports by sea has left our farmers and supply chain in turmoil,” Mr Falconer said.

“Live sheep exports by sea is an ethical and valuable industry, and any dispute to this is fuelled by uneducated opinions from animal activists and their peak body, the RSPCA.

“Instead, information on this trade and decisions regarding the future of the trade should have been sought from the many industry groups working in this sector, who have been providing firsthand information to deaf ears,” he said.

“The $107 million transition support package announced by the government is insufficient to address the challenges faced by affected individuals, businesses, and communities.

“Moreover, the ban threatens local jobs and undermines the value of our sheep industry, which in turn supports our grains industry,” he said.

“It disregards the growing demand for processed sheep meat both domestically and internationally. “Our competitors will fill the gap left by the ban, impacting our long-term market share of all animal products.

Mr Falconer urged the government to reconsider the proposed phaseout of live sheep exports by sea, and instead support the growth and continual evolution of this industry.

“We call for a strategic vision for the Australian sheep industry, emphasizing value-added processing and sustainable live exports.”

Need a government that backs farming – Johincke

Mr Jochinke said farmers wanted a Government that would back the growth and opportunity the farm sector could offer.

“We can be Australia’s next $100 billion industry.

“We can continue to sustainably grow Australia’s export income, create new jobs in our cities and regions, and reinvest in our landscapes – but we need a Government that backs us, not diminish us,” he said.

“Instead of building the value of our industry, this government’s policies will directly strip billions from farm output over the coming years.

“They’ve taken away water, shut down markets, added new taxes and blocked workers,” he said.

“It’s a recipe to kill off economic activity and grow less Aussie food and fibre.

“Farmers are furious, frustrated and they are hurting,” the NFF leader said.

“But most of all, they just want to get on with the job of growing the food and fibre we all need.

“What we are asking government is actually very simple; it is to keep farmers farming.”

Nationals congratulate NFF Council

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud congratulated the policy-making forum after its vote of no confidence was passed against the Albanese Government.

Mr Littleproud said it was unprecedented that the peak agricultural industry body in Australia has made the decision.

He said the NFF Council, comprising Australia’s state and commodity agricultural organisations, had simply given up on Labor, “after multiple failures by Agriculture Minister Murray Watt and an unprecedented walk-out by farmers during Minister Watt’s post-Budget reply breakfast speech this week.”

“Farmers were blindsided when Minister Watt announced from a high-rise in Perth last Saturday that the live sheep export industry would be phased out by May 1, 2028,” Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Littleproud said Labor also tried to introduce the biosecurity protection levy, that he called “a fresh food tax”, that would have forced farmers to pay for the biosecurity risks created by international importers and competitors.


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  1. Gill Leppanen, May 21, 2024

    It’s about time the Labor government got the flick. They don’t know anything about the economy they only want to throw money around and take extensive trips overseas, so very rich people and large corporates (a great number owned by overseas companies) get money off their power bill. Promises they can’t keep.
    What is the future for Australians and the next generations?

  2. Jacqueline Kelly, May 18, 2024

    Albo and his fellow sycophants must go as soon as possible. He, and his deputy in particular, as well as Watt-does-he-know, have sold Australians out and put the entire nation in grave danger by siding with terorist groups, and every other group imaginable. They side with the entire alphabet of destructive minority groups while destroying all democratic principles, values and economies the nation was built on. Handing out $300 to every household is utterly despicable and is a huge, glaring sign they regard everyone as cheaply sold and stupid as they are. I’m extremely pleased to see the NFF vote no confidence in Labor’s shambolic, irresponsible, reckless and extremely dangerous actions that put every area of national security at huge risk.
    How dare they subject us to their dangerous decisions.
    Thank God for all you who are taking a stand.

    • Simon Thomas, May 21, 2024

      Well said Jacqueline and I totally agree. It’s becoming a matter of urgency that the Albanese government is ousted for the sustainability of not only our agricultural industry, but Australia itself. This government is being lead around on a leash by minority groups that are so destructive with their own idealised fairyland agendas. It’s time to stop the tail wagging the dog.

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