AUSTRALIAN agriculture is at the crossroads in terms of its place in the global market, Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon says.
The Opposition agriculture spokesman addressed delegates during day two of the Australian Grains Industry Conference 2018 in Melbourne.
“My view is, and I’ve said it before, that Australian agriculture is at a crossroads.
“We can stay on the same path to moderate success… or we can take the high road to the more prosperous outcome,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“We can pin our hopes on increasingly competitive commodity markets in which we are increasingly price takers, or we can climb the value curve and do something more rewarding.
“Either way, the rewards won’t come without lots of hard work by all of us.”
Mr Fitzgibbon praised efforts to achieve free trade agreements but also said such deals did not bring success on their own.
“While free trade agreements are a great thing, they do no more than level the playing field,” he said. “And on that level playing field, we need still to be competitive. They are no guarantee of success.”
AGIC 2018 ended on Thursday and Grain Trade Australia chief executive Pat O’Shannassy used his last presentation to reflect upon key themes.
“Whether from government or private industry, large companies or small, there was impressive consistency,” Mr O’Shannassy said.
“The Australian Border Force started the day explaining their ‘Australian Trusted Trader’ program, which is all about streamlining the processes for exporting companies as they work through the channels to take grain from Australia in through other countries’ import systems— a great example of government seeking to enhance trade and lift productivity.”