There is a trend for urban communities to be increasingly disconnected from rural life and agriculture. Instead, the Australian Democrats seek to foster stronger connections in our society to the regions and sectors that underpin all aspects of wider society. Agriculture is one of the foundations of our national culture and the provision of food by agriculture is what allows people to specialise and settle into cities.
Public policy settings are failing rural communities, particularly in the face of increasing impacts of a changing climate. Our objective is to develop and retain an efficient, effective and sustainable rural Australia as a crucial economic, social, environmental and inter-generational asset. We stand for national recognition of the contribution of rural communities and industries to Australia’s prosperity.
The Australian Democrats will support legislation that:
- Supports farmers to innovate practices that increase profitability and productivity, reduce resource use and maintain ecosystem health;
- Recognises the strategic importance of agriculture to Australia, in terms of trade and increasingly in underwriting regional political stability;
- Delivers equitable health and education service to rural communities including rural mental health initiatives;
- Delivers natural resource planning which includes achievable, practical and ecologically sustainable measures for the environment, communities, agriculture and industry;
- Fosters sustainable land use and encourages the development of alternatives to permit recovery of degraded lands and conserve biodiversity;
- Protects and restores the health of Australian soils and native ecosystems;
- Reasonably mitigates production and market risks for agriculture, particularly for extreme weather-related events such as drought, flood and heat;
- Builds social and financial resilience in rural and regional communities, in towns and on farms alike;
- Fosters greater understanding and equity between city and country dwellers.