- $60bn farm sector employs 1.6 million Australians in cities and regions
- Agriculture set to generate $100bn in income per year by 2030
- Farm produce earns 1 in 7 dollars of Australia’s export income
- Victorian farmers “punching above their weight”
Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the inaugural Agriculture and Related Industries Day – observed today – was a “brilliant opportunity” to recognise the understated contributions made by Australia’s farm sector.
Welcoming the initiative, Senator McKenzie said AgDay was an opportunity for Australians to reflect on the crucial role agriculture plays in Australia’s economy as an employer, source of export income, and in feeding millions of people.
“An average farmer feeds 400 Australians each year, and another 600 elsewhere the world,” Senator McKenzie said. “With 86,000 farms in Australia, they play a critical role feeding not just Australians, but millions of people abroad as well.”
Senator McKenzie said agriculture was Australia’s largest employer, covering 1.6 million jobs both on farms directly and stretching across manufacturing, retail, transport, technology and infrastructure.
“Many people don’t realise the role agriculture plays in their lives,” Senator McKenzie said. “Whenever they go to a fruit shop, or buy clothes or shoes made from Australian wool or leather, they are interacting with Australia’s farm sector.”
Senator McKenzie said that her home state of Victoria “punched above its weight” compared to other states, and that Victorian farmers were well represented both in raw numbers and the economic contribution they made.
“A quarter of those 86,000 farms are located in Victoria,” Senator McKenzie said. “Victoria’s 21,000 farms directly employ 88,000 people – the most of any state – and Victoria is the country’s top producer of dairy, dried fruits, pork, and is also strongly positioned as a producer of beef, chicken, lamb, and grains.”
Senator McKenzie said Australia’s farm sector was efficient, receiving the lowest levels of industry support of any OECD country, and that almost 99% of farms remained Australian- owned. Emissions had halved since 1996, she added.
“Our agricultural sector is lean, green, and one of a handful of industries that literally underwrites both our economic model and our way of life,” she said. “As a National Party Senator for regional Victoria, I am immensely proud of the hard work our farmers do every year, and I encourage all Victorians and Australians to get involved in AgDay to thank them and acknowledge the role they play.”
Senator McKenzie said that ways people could participate included committing to only eat Australian produce for the day, or by posting a picture of their food and where it came from on Twitter or Instagram using the #AgDay hashtag.
AgDay – which is being marked for the first time in Australia today – is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the National Farmers’ Federation, Hancock Prospecting, and Coles Supermarkets.
21 November 2017