Federal Nationals leader David Littleproud says not all of Australia’s high food prices are caused by natural disasters – they’re also man-made by Labor scrapping the Ag Visa, which has fuelled a cost of living crisis.
Mr Littleproud said Labor was trying to use the recent floods as an excuse for rising food prices but their own policies were already hurting families at the grocery store.
“My heart goes out to the farmers struggling with floods right now,” Mr Littleproud said.
“While the floods will have some impact, the reality is, The Nationals have been warning the Treasurer for months that Labor’s terrible policies are forcing families to pay more for food at the check-out.
“Their policies are not only hurting farmers in the regions – they’re also hurting those in the city.”
Mr Littleproud pointed out the Ag Visa had been dumped by Labor, making it harder for farmers to find workers.
“Australia needs 172,000 workers to get product from the paddock to the plate right now.
“After the floods we are currently experiencing in Victoria, the worry is that farmers may not replant at all. It is simply too hard for farmers to get labour supply. Many farmers were already only planting 50 to 60 per cent of their crop.
“The maths tell us Labor’s Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme will at best provide 42,000 workers. I urge Labor to help our farmers and our families and find practical solutions. The PALM Scheme will only continue to increase food prices.”
The Nationals are also concerned Labor will bring in a methane tax in its upcoming Budget, forcing farmers to pay for the gases produced by the burps of cows and sheep.
“If you think a steak costs a lot of money now, just wait until Labor brings in its ‘T-bone tax’.
“This Budget will be crucial to help Australian families deal with a cost of living crisis. We want to ensure food remains affordable and our farmers are given the support they need during and after the devastating floods.”