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Looming federal election has Centre Alliance Party acting crazy on cotton

4 February 2019

National Farmers' Federation President, Fiona Simson said a thought bubble from the Centre Alliance Party to ban cotton exports had exposed its representatives as uneducated on basic economics and out of touch with regional Australia.

"The shadow of an impending federal election has the Centre Alliance Party acting nothing short of hysterical.

"Senator Patrick's stunt has everything to do with profile raising and nothing to do with the national interest," Ms Simson said.

"Thankfully Australia's political regime doesn't allow the Government to dictate what farmers should grow.

"Such a system would set up a dangerous set of circumstances that would quickly spiral downward.

"The NFF notes that both the Government and the Opposition have dismissed out of hand, Senator Patrick's proposed Bill."

In particular, Ms Simson said the Centre Alliance Member for Mayo, Rebekah Sharkie was acting ignorant to the livelihoods of her electorate.

"A political system that determines what industries can exist would jeopardise Mayo's horticulture, dairy and copper mining sectors.

"These industries represent the very fabric of Mayo and the means by which mums and dads put food on the table and which keep regional communities strong and vibrant."

Ms Simson said South Australia's irrigated grape and wine; almond and fruit industries were all export dependent.

"Together they generate more than $1 billion in production, but without Murray Darling irrigation they simply would not exist.

"I imagine Mayo farmers and the many other voters who work in the farm sector would not support export bans being placed on agriculture."

Ms Simson said the Centre Alliance Party also seemed determined to trash Australia's reputation as a reliable supplier of food and fibre.

"Talk on ceasing industries has the potential to erode confidence in Australian exports and encourage international customers to turn to suppliers which are perceived to be more secure.

"We'd also breach our international trade commitments that exist to ensure common sense dictates international trade – not silly ideas that resolve nothing."

Ms Simson said she was gravely concerned about the impact of 'foolish' political machinations on the future of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the communities within the Basin.

"Cotton farming is not the villain here.

"What we need is a commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan and across-the-board, national political cooperation to ensure the Plan is implemented on time and to it's potential.

"The Plan was never intended to be a set-and-forget document. It is evolutionary.

"I urge Senator Patrick and his Centre Alliance Party colleagues to educate themselves on the objectives of the Plan and the spirit in which it was developed.

"Maybe then the Party's representatives will be in a position to provide meaningful, constructive input into our nation's water challenges.

"Until such time, the NFF will continue to call out foolish antics such as those from Senator Patrick."

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P 0408 448 250
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