"It is irresponsible and grossly inadequate to respond to dire crop
forecasts and the pain caused to rural communities by promising bandaid
cheques and platitudes about the drought eventually breaking," she said.
"Our agricultural sector is fast approaching crisis. We need to address
the issue of the future of agriculture urgently," said Senator Siewert.
"These poor seasons are no longer 'exceptional' circumstances. What we
are seeing is not just one of the worst droughts in history but a shift
in our climate. It is unfair to keep landholders hanging on without
putting real resources into helping them adapt."
Senator Siewert and Senator Milne have twice previously attempted to
establish similar inquiries.
"This is not so much a win for the Greens as a win for common sense,"
The motion to refer this issue to the Rural and Regional Affairs and
Transport Committee and the terms of reference for the inquiry are
The motion agreed to by the Senate reads,
That the Senate:
1. Notes the dire state of the latest ABARE Crop Report (No. 143,
released 18th September 2007).
2. Recognises the severe impact of a series of ongoing poor seasons of
the livelihoods of Australian farmers and the knock-on effect on the
well-being of associated rural communities.
3. Notes the need to ensure the security of Australian food production.
4. That the following matters be referred to the Rural and Regional
Affairs and Transport Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2008:
a. The scientific evidence available on the likely future climate of our
key agricultural production zones, and its implications for current farm
enterprises and possible future industries
b. The need for a national strategy to assist Australian agricultural
industries to adapt to climate change
c. The adequacy of existing drought assistance and exceptional
circumstances programs to cope with long-term climactic changes.