David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Organics regulation binned as Labor drops the ball

March 17, 2023

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has embarrassingly admitted he only has the capacity to focuson just three areas of his Ministry, leaving the booming organics industry stranded on theirpathway to a long sought-after national domestic standard.

In a letter to Australian Organic Limited, Minister Watt said he had other pressing challenges heneeded to put his focus on, namely biosecurity, natural disaster preparedness and response, andagricultural workforce concerns.

Leader of The Nationals and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the role of

Agriculture Minister required the Minister to have greater capacity than being able to focus on justa few areas of the portfolio.

“The former National and Liberal government had started a pathway to setting an Australian

standard for the organics industry, worth over $2 billion annually, by setting up an industry-ledadvisory group, which laid down the pathway to complete this reform,” Mr Littleproud said.

“A consistent National Organic Standard is critical in opening up new export opportunities whileprotecting our international reputation against unscrupulous exporters, who attempt to sendinferior products to our international markets as organics.

“A National Organic Standard would also manage the import of organic products into Australia,which currently isn’t required to be certified or comply with any particularstandard.

“The Albanese government is turning its back on an industry-led solution and framework that haswidespread industry support, all because its Minister doesn’t have the capacity to finish theprocess.”

Kialla Foods owner Quentin Kennedy said as a business, which exports over 40 per cent, primarilyinto Japan and Korea, the lack of equivalence was costing export sales every day.

“If we had equivalence with Korea we could grow that market 10-15 per cent year-on-year,” MrKennedy said.

Mr Littleproud said for the Albanese government to say it had to focus on biosecurity and

workforce, after the previous government invested over $1 billion in biosecurity and export

measures and left them with an Ag visa to address workforce issues, was nonsense.