TFGA State Election Policy Platform 

Political Party Scorecard

The purpose of the political party scorecard is to give our member an understanding of each party’s view on agriculture, prior to the State election on Saturday, 3 March.  

We have attached their policy plans for agriculture for your information (Liberal and Labor).
We appreciate Labor and Liberal parties providing responses to our State Election Policy Platform questions (in bold below).  Unfortunately, the Greens, Jackie Lambie Network and Shooters, Fishers & Farmers parties didn’t respond.

Tfga Priorities

Power Poles

  1. Will your party work with the TFGA to resolve this complex issue in a timely manner, ensuring equity for all Tasmanian landholders?

Both Labor and Liberals agreed to work with TFGA in a timely manner to resolve this issue.   

Integrated Water Management Strategy

  1. Will your party support the development of a Tasmanian integrated water management strategy?
  2. How will your party develop this strategy?

  The Liberals have supported the TFGA concept but named it a Tasmanian Rural Water Use Strategy using DPIPWE to consult with stakeholders. Labor supports the development of an Integrated Water Management Strategy and will use, in the first instance, an Industry Advisory Council to progress this issue.   


  1. How will your party ensure farmer businesses will secure increased productivity and reduced cost pressure through affordable and predictable power prices and improved energy efficiency?
  2. How will your party ensure Tasmania’s State-owned energy businesses will be more cost efficient thereby contributing to the lowest possible electricity prices?

Labor and Liberal both understand the burden of energy costs on farmers and want to improve energy efficiency and help farmers reduce costs. 

Labor’s policy mentions a review into Government Business Enterprises executive bonuses to be linked to operational efficiencies and reductions in energy costs.  

Liberals didn’t make comment regarding making state-owned businesses more cost-efficient.   

Strengthening the Primary Industries Activities Protection Act 1995

  1. Does your party think that the Primary Industries Activities Protection Act is providing the intent that it states, to protect against common law of nuisance claims?

Liberals delivered on their previous commitment to strengthen the Act, however, the Act is not a substitute for a robust and well-managed planning system and resolving disputes for neighbours is through good faith and working together. 

Labor is open to discussions with the TFGA about making sure the law protects those who are doing the right thing.   

Improving State Taxes and Rating System

  1. Would your party support the removal of insurance duties on agricultural products (as has occurred in Victoria)?
  2. Would your party commit to working with TFGA to exempt private land areas covered by environmental offset requirements and covenants from local government rates?
  3. What is your position on the current local government rating system?  Do you believe it is fair and equitable for rural ratepayers?  

Labor has no plans to amend insurance duties on agricultural products or rating exemptions on private land covered by environmental requirements and covenants.  

Labor has made a commitment to conduct a review of Local Government fees and charges. 

Liberals will review the use of agricultural insurance products.  No comment regarding exempting private land covered by environmental offsets and covenants from local government rates. Liberals did commit to working with TFGA to examine the local government rating system.   

Maintaining our Biosecurity Status

  1. Will your party commit to a biosecurity decision-making process that is based on scientific risk assessment principles?
  2. Will your party commit to increasing the on-ground resources of Biosecurity Tasmania staff?
  3. Does your party support an improved coordinated approach for weed management (current examples where this is happening already include water management branch and wildlife management branch)?

Liberals will reinforce the robust process of risk-based decision making by consulting with industry to finalise the Biosecurity Bill.  The party have committed to increasing on-ground resources and have promised a new weed advocate to work in partnership with DPIPWE and stakeholders to identify on-ground priorities. 

Labor didn’t provide comment on committing to biosecurity decision-making process based on scientific risk assessment principles.  However, Labor has committed to extra biosecurity resourcing and support improvements to the coordination of weed management, including an additional 30 park rangers.   

Rural Infrastructure

  1. What will your party approach be to improve the standard and maintenance of rural roads, including roadside vegetation across the State?

Labor has promised $60 million to a community roads package that includes upgrades to many important rural roads around the State. 

Liberals have said they will build on the strong infrastructure program they delivered over the past four years with significant investment in rural freight and transport infrastructure.  Liberals have committed to ensuring standards of roadside maintenance are delivered through mechanical slashing and brush cutting.  This will be delivered as part of the standard road maintenance contract.   

Management of Wildlife

  1. What is your party’s plan to manage over populations of wildlife and pests?
  2. Private landowners undertake wildlife management as part of their business.  How can wildlife and pests on public land be better managed to reduce the environmental damage and spread of numbers on to private land?

Labor has promised to continue investing in programs to manage and control over populations of wildlife and pests where their impact is detrimental to farmers and the environment.  Labor will employ an additional 30 park rangers for the control of wildlife and pests. 

Liberals will implement their response to the Legislative Council Inquiry into Wild Fallow Deer and deliver on their commitment to modernise the approach to managing deer, as well as game and browsing animals.     

Investing in a Skilled Workforce

  1. Does your party believe the current education and training system for the State can be improved?  If so, how?
  2. How will your party develop industry priorities for attracting, retaining and developing a skilled workforce?        

Liberals will work with the TFGA and employers in the agriculture sector to attract more skilled workers and invest further into improving agricultural education and training opportunities, including $16m to revitalise school farms, and the establishment of a $5m Agricultural Centre of Excellence. 

Labor will develop a Workforce Development Plan to inform and direct the allocation of skills and training funding to where it is needed.  Industry Advisory Councils will be used to set industry priorities and provide $3m worth of scholarships for apprentices and trainees.   

Government Resources

  1. How will your party understand what resources are needed in the Department to continually build the agricultural sector in the State?
  2. How will your party commit to having a well-resourced Department for the ongoing needs of primary industries?

  Labor will develop the Primary Industries and Forestry Industry Advisory Council to receive direct input from industry representatives and ensure funding allocations to government departments are adequate and directed.  Labor commits to ensuring to provide adequate resourcing to DPIPWE. 

The Liberal Party has committed to having the right staffing levels and an engaged workforce working in the right areas to meet the Department’s role and objectives.  The Liberals have also promised to make it easier for farmers to conduct business with two new AgriGrowth liaison officers in the north, combined with a new primary producer’s hotline – a single contact point for farmers.   

Agriculture’s Future

  1. What is your party’s plan for agriculture?
  2. How will your party provide certainty for farmers around potential mining operations on their land?

Liberals will invest more than $15m on the next phase of their AgriFood Plan for 2018-2023, including: $70m towards third tranche of Tasmanian Irrigation schemes; $4.5m to work with farmers and processors to improve on-farm productivity and profitability; $35m into agricultural research and innovation; extra $20m for concessional AgriGrowth loans for young farmers; doubling the funding for Landcare Tasmania, establishing a $2m Landcare Action Grants Program and establishing a $5m weed action fund.  Liberals will support a farmer’s right to object and will not support mining developments on productive agricultural land where it is not in the State’s best interests. The Liberals will also extend for another 5-year moratorium on fracking. 

Labor committed to establishing a Centre of Excellence in agriculture, education and commercialisation to integrate education, research and industry together in a central location.  Labor supports a permanent ban on fracking for oil and gas in Tasmania and is open to discussions with TFGA about its desire for farmers to have more certainty over their land in terms of any threat from mining activity.   

NHVR Regulations

  1. The TFGA does not support the chain of responsibility regulations proposed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).  Will your party work with TFGA to ensure an equitable outcome for primary producers?

Both Labor and Liberals have committed to work with TFGA to ensure uniform national standards for heavy vehicles are equitable for Tasmanian primary producers and both support a 12-month delay on the introduction of these regulations if needed

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