An opportunity to restore faith in democracy

01 March 2024

When Premier Jeremy Rockliff visited the state's governor general in early February, it was an obvious opportunity for the government to clear the air and reset the political landscape by calling an early election.

This election should be a time to restore our faith in the democratic process and for the government to put behind them the precarious situation of confidence-and-supply agreements with independent members of parliament.

As Kevin Rudd said, "Making predictions about elections is a mug's game." We might hope that any result will provide a majority government, but know voters always make the right choice when the vote is finally counted and declared.

During this election, TasFarmers wants to encourage discussion and debate, as we seek a commitment from the political parties to address the overarching challenges facing Tasmanian Farmers and rural communities.

TasFarmers is in an enviable position of having bipartisan support across the political spectrum. However much remains to be done to address the growing red tape and bureaucratic demands placed on Farmers.

We've provided each of the political parties and independent candidates, with a package of policy questions developed in consultation with our members, asking for their consideration and reply by Monday, 11 March 2024.

We have identified six critical areas of concern for the Tasmanian Agricultural sector which encompass:

  1. North-West transmission development
  2. Enhancing on-farm sustainability and productivity through technology, innovation, and market access.
  3. Securing the future of irrigation in Tasmania.
  4. Investing in education and training for the future of the Tasmanian agricultural workforce.
  5. Safeguarding Tasmania's primary industries.
  6. Other: looking for innovative solutions to a diverse number of challenges

If we want to grow the industry to 10 billion by 2030, it is critical that the next Tasmanian government has clear long-term strategies and is committed to addressing these issues.

The incoming government must articulate a clear strategy to enhance shipping access, improve telecommunications infrastructure, and ensure that the next-generation workforce receives fit-for-purpose, relevant education, and training.

Challenges such as climate change, the need to amend planning laws around on-farm accommodation, and changing compulsorily acquired land acquisition laws all need forward-thinking solutions.

We urge all political parties and candidates to engage in meaningful discussion, as we commit to making their responses to our policy questions public before election day, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Tasmanian land-based farmers play a pivotal role in the state's economy, contributing over 2.3 billion dollars. Moving forward we want to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to implement robust policy and support the continued prosperity of the agricultural industry.