Nov 23, 2006

Beazley announces new drought initiative for the long term

Beazley announces new drought initiative for the long term

MEDIA RELEASE – Leader of the Opposition

The Hon Kim Beazley MP

23 November 2006

A Beazley Labor Government will act in the long-term interests of drought-affected communities by establishing a new $20 million Enterprise Connect Centre for Climate Change and Agriculture in country Australia.

Rural and regional communities across Australia are experiencing severe drought. Exceptional Circumstances assistance for today is welcome, but we must look to the future and how best to tackle ongoing drought conditions.

The Climate Change and Agriculture Enterprise Connect Centre I am announcing today will help Australia’s hard working farmers to find and adapt new ideas and research, take up new technology and test new products and processes.

Dealing with the worst drought in living memory, farmers and rural and regional communities know that climate change is affecting weather patterns. They know you cannot deal with the drought without dealing with climate change.

My Climate Change and Agriculture Enterprise Connect Centre will provide four key services:

· Advice on boosting productivity, efficiency and export value with on-call business advisers, technical experts and scientists;

· Access for agribusinesses to research labs, data processing systems and testing and prototyping facilities already operating in universities, TAFEs and other agencies;

· Labs equipped to provide sophisticated testing facilities for emerging agricultural industries with the capacity to test and prototype; and

· Critical benchmarking; to provide advice on improved business planning and innovation and growth strategies.

In its 2007 Budget Submission, the Nationals Farmers Federation called for national leadership on research to “respond to greenhouse and climate change challenges”. I will provide that leadership.

A Beazley Labor Government will help Australian farmers take advantage of innovative ideas for reducing greenhouse emissions, benefiting from emerging clean, green industries and markets; and dealing with the ongoing effects of climate change.

On coming to Government I will invite local councils across rural and regional Australia to make submissions to host the new Climate Change and Agriculture Enterprise Connect Centre.