I rise today to acknowledge the resilience of Eden-Monaro farmers, who have battled through drought, survived devastating bushfires, dealt with multiple flooding events and found ways to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. We've seen the damage caused by the mouse plague in north-west New South Wales, and it's evident that this government isn't listening to farmers. Just yesterday the Acting Prime Minister skirted the issue. Instead of offering a real solution, he said that perhaps the mice could be 'rehomed into inner-city apartments to scratch their children at night'. How out of touch this government is if they think this is what farmers want. Farmers don't want the issues they are facing to be forced on other people.
The government is ignoring the plight of our farmers. Monaro sheep farmers are worried about the future of the wool industry, with China purchasing around 70 per cent of Australia's greasy wool. With this government more focused on politics than proper strategy in our foreign policy, it's no wonder farmers are concerned. Farmers are struggling with workforce shortages. They can’t find workers and even when they can, they are unable to find affordable places for them to live.
Ongoing CSIRO budget cuts means it's harder to secure funding for agricultural research and development, which will hurt the agriculture industry into the future.
They want funding committed to coordinator roles for farming cooperative groups, which band together farmers for research, marketing and administration. We know mice are a problem, but in Eden-Monaro farmers are doing it tough. This government needs to start listening to them and having their backs.