Senate debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021


Agriculture Industry

1:32 pm

Photo of Perin DaveyPerin Davey (NSW, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We are seeing very welcome drought-breaking rains at the moment, which is a welcome relief for farmers and irrigators across the nation, but, as ever, rain is a double-edged sword. Some of the farmers who thought they would finally be able to go to the bank and pay some of their debt back are now facing washed out crops, which is devastating for those farmers. But the good news is that—and this is the anomaly that is Australia—at the same time as some farmers are seeing the downgrading of their crops or some crops washed away, ABARES is still predicting that Australia will have the highest grain crop on record. We're expecting to harvest 34.4 million tonnes of wheat and barley. Even despite China banning the sale of Australian barley in China, we're still expecting to harvest 13.3 million tonnes. I was talking to a farmer the other day who is getting nearly nine tonnes a hectare from their barley crop, which is incredible. New South Wales is still expected to produce the second-largest crop ever.

This should be celebrated. We should be thanking our farmers, because all of this contributes to our gross domestic product. All of this contributes to our strong economy, and we know that our economy has got through COVID on the back of our agriculture and resources industries. Without them, we would have been an economic basket case. I acknowledge that there is disappointment out there with the rains. I acknowledge that we're getting great tonnage but prices might not be as good due to the downgrading. But to all farmers out there trying to get their crops in: I hope it dries out a bit, and all the best.