27 December, 2009

Beef industry protection needed

27th December 2009

I read with some concern the letter by Richard Charmen (SJ 24/12) of the NSW Farmers Assoc regarding the possible changes to food policy which would allow importation of beef from BSE infected countries.

I can well understand the relief, albeit limited, that comes from Senator Heffernan's call for an inquiry into the proposed changes.

Unfortunately for Australian primary producers, successive governments have for decades continue to erode the security of our farmers and the Coalition's record,in general, is less than glowing in regards to speaking up for farmers.

Who can forget Australian wheatgrowers bearing the loss of millions following Howard's altruistic move to wipe out Iraq's debt for wheat shipments, or Downer's reticence to speak out against Biosecurity Australia's plan to allow in NZ apples possibly carrying fireblight, not to mention stone fruit from Chile?

Furthermore, did any Party listen to concerns voiced by Australian pig farmers in regards to planned pork imports and possible changes to import regulations and their concerns about the introduction of Post Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome, or care about the millions lost to Queensland producers due to the importation of diseased fruit carrying Black Sigatoka and Moko diseases?

Indeed, the risk of such changes to the livelihood of our producers is great and the damage to our nation's reputation is unthinkable. However, Mr. Charmen should not be putting forward the question of compensation for producers should the government pursue this course of action, on behalf of his members he should be demanding that the government abandon the whole idea entirely.

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