Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Commerce Matters

Greens’ plan to assist farmers adapt to climate change to remain viable

Greens Statement

The Greens have today released a plan designed to help farmers adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert and Greens MLC Giz Watson, Agriculture spokesperson and candidate for the South West, released the plan after attending the Farmer on Your Plate event at Forrest Place today.

Ms Watson said farmers in the southern half of the state had been neglected by successive governments yet were working against the clock to make their farms viable in a drying climate.

She said farmers needed financial support and assistance with research and development to make their farms climate change ready and to grow new crops in changing conditions.

"Farmers are incredibly innovative and progressive in their abilities in adapt their properties and practices to meet the changes in climate," Ms Watson said.

“But it is not fair that they bear all the costs of coping with changes in climate and the impact that is having on their bottom lines.  Many are being forced off the land altogether.

"The Greens are keen to assist farmers, especially those in the south-west and wheatbelt, with research and development grants and help to prepare their farms for extremes in weather.

"Adaptation has been on the agenda at both a federal level and state level for a while now but progress has been very slow and the focus hasn’t been on adapting existing farm practices and keeping existing communities viable.

"Our state needs farmers to remain viable for our own food security as well as our economic well-being.

"It is time the state government put its hands in its pockets to assist those on the frontline of climate change so that they can adapt quickly and successfully to the worsening effects of global warming and our drying climate.

“Our farms and rural communities are too precious to lose and the Greens are committed to help WA farmers adapt to climate change and remain economically viable.”

Ms Watson said the Greens plan included coordinating a cross departmental effort to bring practical know-how together with scientific research to deliver real solutions for climate change adaptation; pushing for more funding for research and development; and ensuring regional communities were ready for extremes in weather.

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