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Another Coalition backflip puts Australian farmers at risk

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 Nov 2013

The Australian Greens said today that farmers have been let down by another election backflip from the Agriculture Minister, which targets the nation's front line defence against invasive species.

"During the campaign, the Coalition promised a $20 million "biosecurity flying squad" to improve biosecurity on front line, but now the Agriculture Minister's own department is cutting 220 involved in protecting our agriculture from invasive plant and animal diseases," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

"Protecting our crops, animals and native species from invasive pests is crucial to our long term food security, our environmental management and the long term security of the agricultural sector.

"In the past few years we've seen myrtle rust and the Asian honey bee get through our biosecurity shield, infecting native plants and threatening agriculture.

"This is a disappointing decision from a senior Nationals MP, and it comes less than a week after he broke another election promise and cut funding from Landcare.

"So far we've seen nothing but backflips and double standards from the Agriculture Minister and his party. One moment they're opposing the sale of GrainCorp, the next they're putting agriculture at risk by reducing biosecurity protection.

"The Greens understand the importance of protecting Australia's agriculture, environment and food security, and we've committed to implementing key recommendations from Roger Beale's 2008 review of the nation's biosecurity, including the establishment of an independent biosecurity authority.

"The Minister needs to immediately reverse this decision," Senator Siewert concluded.


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