Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, will join industry leaders, producers and researchers in considering how Western Australia’s agriculture sector can better harness the opportunities of the digital age.
Minister Ruston will represent Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, at the WAFarmers annual conference, which will this year consider the theme of ‘AgVersity: Information, Innovation, Inspiration’.
“This is an exciting time to be in agriculture, and there are tremendous opportunities for the sector presented by digital technologies, new trade deals, and growing global demand for agrifood products,” Minister Ruston said.
“WA’s farming sector is in a particularly strong position when it comes to capitalising on these opportunities—WA’s farm businesses are among the most profitable in Australia, and innovation continues to drive the industry forward.
“We believe both government and industry have important and complementary roles to play in positioning the agriculture sector to realise the full potential of this exciting time and push the innovation frontier forward.
“This is why—particularly through the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper—we are putting in place sensible policies, practical measures and an efficient regulatory environment to support a strong and profitable agriculture sector which can invest in innovation and new technology.
“We are also increasing investment in our rural R&D sector—including through the $200 million Rural R&D for Profit programme—to help foster an environment of innovation for our agricultural industries.
“I believe our farmers are the best in the world—and this government will continue to work hard to create opportunities for the sector, including by delivering the best possible access to global markets, and building the infrastructure of the future.
“In the agriculture portfolio since September 2013, we have achieved 70 key market access gains or restorations of suspended markets, and 30 key market access improvements or actions to maintain market access.
“We’ve already secured trade deals with Japan, Korea and of course China—three of our most valuable agricultural export markets—and successfully concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was signed earlier this month.
“We are also committed to ensuring Australia’s farmers can fully participate in the opportunities of the digital age, by investing up to $29.5 billion towards delivering Australia’s first national broadband network to all Australians, including those on the land, and improving mobile phone and wireless broadband coverage and competition in regional Australia through the Mobile Black Spot Programme.
“It is pleasing to see the work of our agricultural industries and the sector’s peak bodies in finding new and innovative ways to capitalise on the opportunities that are at our fingertips—and I look forward to expanding on this at the AgVersity conference.”
Minister Ruston will be speaking at the WAFarmer’s AgVersity conference in Perth on 19 February.