FARMERS are calling for reform to the way governments assist and support farmers before and after natural disasters.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage said that while severe weather events were part and parcel of farming in Queensland, they place enormous strain of the viability and prosperity of our sector.
“Every year the Australian Government spends over $560 million on post disaster relief and recovery, with this number on the rise as climate variability increases,” Mr Armitage said.
“QFF is advocating for a suite of policy and funding reforms to improve the sector’s ability to manage climate and weather risks.
“Improved resilience to natural disaster and drought can help lower the financial drain on farmers and governments. By increasing funding in resilience and preparedness measures, governments can lessen the impact disasters have on farmers and their local communities, as well as reduce their own post disaster financial costs.”
Improved resilience to natural disaster and drought can help lower the financial drain on farmers and governments.
Mr Armitage said it has been estimated that $250 million national expenditure on pre-disaster resilience could generate budget savings of $12.2 billion across all levels of government and reduce disaster costs by 50 per cent by 2050.
Queensland is the most disaster impacted state in Australia and the effect of these events on rural communities and economies is escalating, he said.
“Australia recently slipped from fifth to 14th on the world food security rankings when susceptibility to natural disaster and impact of weather events were added to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) criteria,” Mr Armitage said.
“Agricultural insurance can transfer financial risk away from the farm and even the government, but the market is very underdeveloped in Queensland and needs enabling policy settings and government support to mature.
“Smart government investment would include funding data collection, insurance development projects and removing the inefficient bureaucratic and financial barriers to these products.
This election, QFF is advocating for the following sensible and practical actions to realise our vision for a vibrant and thriving agricultural sector providing food, fiber and amenity to all Queenslanders:
- Develop and adopt a readymade industry recovery program that can deploy industry officers immediately after a natural disaster to quicken recovery.
- Commit $500,000 over three years to develop a farmer-owned data repository of farm level production data.
- Abolish stamp duty on agricultural insurance – Victoria and NSW abolished it in 2017.
- Invest in installation of BoM weather stations across the prime agricultural areas of Queensland.
- Commit to providing funding to implement the climate change recommendations from the review of the sector.