Palmer United Senator for Queensland and Leader of Palmer United in the Senate, Glenn Lazarus, has just completed a series of community forums in the Bundaberg region with fruit and vegetable growers.
Delivered over two days, the forums were successful in bringing together many of the region’s fruit and vegetable growers to discuss their challenges.
“Australian farmers are impressive people. They work hard, often through grueling weather and many hardships to manage their farms and get their products to market,” said Senator Lazarus today.
“On top of this, they face incredible difficulties dealing with a complex web of Government agencies, red tape and compliance requirements to achieve simple things.
“Australian farmers deserve greater acknowledgement, support and respect for their attitude, hard work and perseverance.
“The Abbott Government on the other hand is continuing to fail farmers and is treating them like second class citizens.
“Australia needs a national Federal Government Farming Advocate to focus on the needs of farmers and to provide farmers with one point of contact for government dealings.
“This will ensure the needs and challenges of farmers are addressed and they are provided with appropriate support and a streamlined system to raise and solve issues.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to make significant structural government changes to deliver this outcome, rather we simply need to establish an office of a Farming Advocate which will deliver one point of contact for farmers and which will link into all relevant areas of government to provide farmers with an efficient and multi-agency interface mechanism.
“Until this happens, farmers will continue to lack the minimum levels of support they need to survive, let alone succeed.
“Australia boasts the largest proportion of arable land in the world. We produce high quality fruit and vegetables. The world wants what we produce.
“Why wouldn’t we want to protect our farming industry for the benefit of our people today and for the years ahead.
“We can’t keep taking our farmers for granted. Our future as a nation depends on their success.”