Thank you Mr Deputy Speaker,
Monaro Farming Systems covers Cooma, Bombala, Nimmitabel and surrounds.
The group is a progressive community of innovative, forward thinking graziers and growers.
MFS accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the Monaro’s agricultural output -
wool, sheep meat and beef.
But as a collective they are developing new income streams and building on their environmental stewardship.
Meeting with them recently, one farmer made the comment that “the group has been cut off at the knees.”
For the last 10 years, federal Landcare funding has paid for an Executive Officer, enabling MFS to be a real powerhouse.
MFS members have achieved a profitability increase of 10 dollars per hectare per year through sustainable agricultural change.
This equates to a direct value to the local region of more than 1 million dollars per year.
Being able to employ a paid executive officer to oversee admin, marketing, members support, grant applications and acquittal, has been central in achieving that result.
The government’s Smart Farmers Grant scheme has turned that work upside down – with a focus on short term projects rather than long term gains.
MFS has been able to keep the paid role going in the short term but the long-term security that has been so critical to the group’s success is now missing.
When is this government going to provide the long-term foundations our farmers need rather then going for short-term, headline grabbing projects?