Labor stands ready to support the Abbott Government in providing help to farmers following the trade sanctions imposed on agricultural products by Russia.
The Russian Federation's retaliatory sanctions are extremely disappointing and come at the worst possible time for Australias drought-affected farmers. There was no need for Russia to take this step and punish Australian producers.
However, the action should not have been unanticipated and I trust the Government has been giving thought to that possibility.
Concerningly, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said today he is finding it difficult to achieve the same level of support from his Cabinet colleagues.
When asked about assistance for affected farmers, Minister Joyce said:
Most of the time I have a real struggle trying to affect my own colleagues."
[Barnaby Joyce Newsradio 8 August 2014]
Minister Joyce can be assured the Opposition stands ready to support any thoughtful initiatives designed to help the agriculture sector, even if his colleagues will not.