House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Matters of Public Importance

Rural and Regional Australia

3:49 pm

Photo of Justine KeayJustine Keay (Braddon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Oh, is that laughter over there? Yes, it is quite ridiculous, isn't it? Even today the government have not allocated one extra cent for the next tranche of Tasmanian irrigation projects. There has been inaction since the dairy crisis of 2016, when I did ask the then agriculture minister to come to Tasmania and speak to my dairy farmers and he refused. They have failed to secure export protocols for our blueberries into China, overseeing an agriculture labour shortage, with the only solution being a thought bubble developed with no consultation.

I just want to go to this labour shortage and their thought bubble about getting people who are on benefits into the agriculture sector. If you ever needed evidence that the government have lost the plot, look no further than this thought bubble, which is full of hot air. It's like a brain fart, really. It's their very simplistic solution to a complex problem. In my state, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association does not support this thought bubble. Neither does the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and neither does the Tasmanian Council of Social Service. It's unique when you can't even get the farmers to agree with a solution with that side of the House, who say they're all about regional Australia and farmers. Who did they actually consult on this idea? I think it was—I don't know; was it their own backsides? I'm not sure. But no-one actually supports this thought bubble.

Who's going to pay for the accommodation of these workers, who have to go to rural parts of the country? Where are they going to stay? How are they going to get there? Some of these people don't have cars, and many of these people are in my electorate. The farms are in my electorate, and did they even bother to speak to the farmers there? No. But I have. They know that that is not the solution to this issue at all. This is another policy failure from a government that have lost touch with the regions. The muppet show rolls on, but our regions need people who will stand up for them, and that is the Labor Party.


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