Call for climate change strategy to support farmers

23 Jul 2020

Posted October 16, 2019

A private member's motion calling for a national strategy on climate change and agriculture was backed by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie this week.

Photograph: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie speaks at a press conference at Parliament House to discuss a private member's motion calling for a national strategy on climate change and agriculture.

The motion – which calls for a national framework, more funding for research, clean energy development targets and investment in farming adaption – was moved by regional Victorian MP Helen Haines, the Independent member for Indi, and seconded by Rebekha, a regional MP from South Australia.

“It is deeply concerning that the Government has no coherent plan to address the medium to long-term impacts of climate change on Australia's agriculture,” Rebekha said.

“While immediate drought relief is desperately needed, short-term solutions with no view to medium or long-term climate change mitigation or adaptation is an abandonment of Australian farmers to a blinkered ideology of climate change denialism.”

As a matter of urgency, Rebekha said the Government needed to instruct the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to conduct a review of the climate change risks in the Murray-Darling Basin to complement a national strategy on agriculture and climate change.

“It beggars belief that the impact of climate change has yet to be taken into account in the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and that the Government's only plan to do so appears to be at the next required review, in 2026, which is still another seven years away,” Rebekha said.

“In my electorate of Mayo, our apple, pear and cherry growers are facing the new normal, which is severe hailstorms and hotter seasons with lower rainfall.

“Support for horticulture netting to protect our crops is an excellent example of a climate change mitigation measure, and it's desperately needed.

“I've spoken in this place repeatedly about the urgent needs of our growers. If we had netting, it would mean that we would use less water. There would be around 30 per cent less waste.”

You can read the full text of the motion here and view Rebekha's speech in Parliament here.

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