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Motion: Small-scale food producers

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:45): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1272, standing in my name for today, relating to food security.

Leave granted.

Senator RHIANNON: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Oxfam Australia recently released a report titled, Grow: Getting big results from small scale agriculture,

(ii) the report found that:

   (A) small-scale food producers play a critical role in global food production,

   (B) 80 per cent of the world’s hungry people are involved in food production as small-scale producers, including small scale farmers, fishers, forest foragers and landless labourers, and

   (C) small scale producers go hungry because they often lack access to the markets, land, financing and credit facilities, infrastructure, farmer training services, storage facilities and relevant technology enjoyed by large farms, and

(iii) in 2013-14, the Australian aid program will invest around $411 million in programs that will improve access to food for millions of people across Africa, Asia and the Pacific; and

   (b) calls on the Australian Government to consider increasing aid to food security by 2016, and prioritising aid to small scale food producers.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Rhiannon be agreed to.

The Senate divided. [16:50]

(The President—Senator Hogg)

DIVISION:AYES 36 (9 majority) NOES 27 PAIRS 0

Question agreed to.

Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales—Nationals Whip in the Senate) (16:52): Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WILLIAMS: I want to make a point on this motion of Senator Rhiannon's, regarding food security and small-scale food producers, whether they be overseas or in Australia: what about the large-scale beef producers in Australia? This government made such a mess of their industry. What support is being shown to them? It is just incredible what has happened to the beef industry—the decimation of the beef industry—especially at the Top End. We used to export 750,000 live cattle to Indonesia. That has now been reduced to 200,000. Those cattle are now flooding south abattoirs, decimating the beef price.

The Greens were the ones who wanted to ban the whole live export industry. Senator Rhiannon makes no secret of that. They say they are concerned about food security, but the Greens have had all the power in the states and have been shutting up more food-producing land into national parks. Do not come into this place and talk about food security when obviously you campaigned for the opposite.

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