Last night I attended a farmers’ seminar hosted by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and Australian Dairy Farmers in Colac.
There is deep concern about Labor’s attempts to derail our China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) which is so important for jobs – for agriculture, small business and exporters.
With 90 per cent of dairy exports to China coming from Victoria, we have much to lose if the ChAFTA is delayed. If the enabling legislation is not passed by Parliament before the end of the year, farmers will miss out on two rounds of tariff cuts which will cost agriculture $300m.
This ChAFTA is vital for Australian farmers. Under the ChAFTA, all tariffs on Australian dairy products (up to 20%) will be eliminated within four to 11 years. This includes the rapid elimination of the 15 per cent tariff on infant formula and the 10-19 per cent tariff on ice-cream, lactose and casein, both within four years.
Australia’s beef and sheep farmers will also gain from the abolition of tariffs ranging from 12-25 per cent and all tariffs on Australian horticulture will be eliminated.
We have seen an irresponsible and reckless campaign by the CFMEU and Labor which are intent on tearing down this agreement and causing real harm to farmers, small businesses and exporters.
The government has also released a website portal which provides comprehensive information on our free trade agreements at www.openforbusiness.gov.au
22 September 2015