Tasmanian Deputy Premier Bryan Green could have a post-political career as a resort DJ, such was his propensity for showmanship and spin.

Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck described Mr Green’s release of a 2011-2012 Food and Beverage Scorecard for Tasmanian agriculture as an exercise in boosterism and showed the clear disconnect between Labor and the farm sector.

Senator Colbeck – who chaired a Senate Committee Inquiry into Australia’s Food Processing Sector – made the comments while attending the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association at Launceston today.

“Tasmanian primary industry is beset with challenges and Mr Green is reaching for his rose-coloured glasses,” Senator Colbeck said.

“Vegetable growers are engaged in crisis talks, food processors are signalling possible closure and expansion plans in dairy and aquaculture are under attack by Labor’s green mates. Labor has caused irreparable harm to the nation’s live export sector.

“In that battlefield the Deputy Premier and Primary Industries Minister puts out a scorecard spinning the Government’s support for primary industries.”

Senator Colbeck said farm production was increasing because of the excellent work of farmers, not the Government, and that they were succeeding despite Labor’s best efforts.

“ABARE figures show the carbon tax has added more than $15,000 to the average cost of running a dairy operation and Labor has continued to lump increased fees and charges onto producers.

“We’ve given our competitors like New Zealand a leg up by a lack of progress on free trade agreements into important markets such as Japan, China and South Korea.

“Meanwhile, Labor’s changes to shipping and export fees have forced up the cost of getting our product to market.

“We should remember all of this has happened on the watch of Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom.

“The only thing Mr Green’s release throws the spotlight on is just how hopelessly out of touch Labor is with Tasmanian farmers and the primary industries sector more broadly.”

“We know there are real opportunities for Tasmanian agriculture but farmers are being held back by the actions of the state and federal Labor /Green alliances, they have become part of the problem.”
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK Senator for Tasmania Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science