CHOOSING HOME GROWN OVER CHEAP EXPORTS
As Australians we love our food. We have embraced dining out, café culture, community gardens, farmers markets and TV cooking shows with great enthusiasm. Chefs are now celebrities.
But Australia’s food security – ensuring that every Australian has access to a nutritious and adequate diet – rests on our farmers growing enough of a wide variety of food through the best and worst of times.
Under the pressure of cheap imports, local food processing jobs are also under intense pressure. Brands that are so ingrained in our national consciousness, such as Rosella, have gone.
Approximately 30% of Australia’s agricultural land is degraded, many rivers and groundwater systems are over-allocated, and our rare pockets of prime agricultural land and water are being lost to urban expansion, mining and onshore gas extraction. These issues are urgent, interrelated and of enormous consequence. Our food system has reached a crossroads, and we must now make a choice.
The Greens’ vision for our food system, one that is healthy, prosperous, fair, sustainable and Australian is the focus of a detailed policy paper. The simple message is that we can choose to give our farmers a fair price and ensure we are self-sufficient in nutritious food. We can understand that our food security and regional economies will be weakened by the loss of local food manufacturing and take steps to support it. We can recognise that our farmers are the vital custodians of our landscapes, and support them in adopting sustainable techniques that restore our landscapes and adapt and anticipate changes in the climate. We can ensure that every Australian has access to nutritious and affordable food at all times.
We can do this by:
• increasing Commonwealth funding into public research and development in agriculture and our food systemby 7% per year to reverse the decline in investment we have seen in recent years;
• establishing a National Food Policy Ministerial Board to coordinate national food policy
• creating an independent Food Advisory Council
• appointing an independent Food Commissioner
• supporting the creation of regional food councils
• providing funding for a national network of 180 agricultural extension officers at a cost of $76.5 million over the forward estimates
• providing funding for regional food hubs, farmer’s markets, farmer’s cooperatives and other innovative solutions that help farmers sell direct to the public and reconnect local communities and farmers
Authorised by Chris Dickinson & Adam Duncan, the Greens (WA), Ground Floor 445 Hay St Perth