FCA calls on new Environment Minister to support national strategy

30 August 2018. Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt has called on Member for Durack and newly-appointed Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, to throw her support behind a National Strategy on Climate and Agriculture.

Originally from Western Australia, Ms Morgan-Schmidt has returned to her home turf - and Minister Price’s electorate - this week to attend the Dowerin Field Days.

“Minister Price brings with her extensive experience in both the environmental and agricultural sectors. She has previously spoken publicly about her support for a thriving and vibrant agriculture sector and, until recently, was responsible for NRM and Landcare,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

“I’m calling on Minister Price to use her new powers as Environment Minister to ensure that the National Strategy has the teeth and funding required to deliver real support for Australian farmers.”

In April, Agriculture Ministers from all States and Territories committed to advance a National Strategy for Climate Change and Agriculture, however there are concerns the new Cabinet will not deliver the support required to fully fund and implement the strategy.

The plan will guide federal and state governments through what they need to do to reduce emissions and help farmers manage predicted changes.

“Farmers in Minister Price’s seat of Durack are telling me that decisive action to prevent further damage to our climate, while supporting farmers to adapt, is a priority for them,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

“Right now, the WA wheatbelt is looking fantastic. Yet it was only last year that areas in Minister Price’s electorate experienced one of the most challenging seasons on record.”

Ms Morgan-Schmidt said climate change was set to make south-west WA, including the southern end of the Durack electorate, hotter and drier. “These conditions are going to make it increasingly challenging for local farmers.”  

Ms Morgan-Schmidt called for urgent research into the direct and indirect risks that climate change poses to Australian agri-food systems.

“If Australian agriculture is to be sustainable and profitable in the long-term, we need this plan in place as soon as possible. We cannot afford to wait around.”

FCA board member and Goomalling farmer Christie Kingston joined Ms Morgan-Schmidt at Dowerin and said a national strategy was critical to the future of her family’s business and Australian agriculture more generally.

"This plan is directly relevant to Minister Price’s environment portfolio and to her farmer constituents. I can’t stress enough how important it is that she makes a national plan a priority: our future depends upon it."