NSW Farmers calls for Government to back resilience-building through insurance

NSW Farmers is calling for Federal agriculture minister, David Littleproud, to clarify his comments about farm income protection insurance products, including what the Coalition would do to ‘encourage’ uptake of policies in the event they are re-elected.

NSW Farmers’ Grains Committee chair, Matthew Madden, said growers have expressed concern and uncertainty about recent comments from the Minister that appeared in The Land.  

“The Land reports today that Minister Littleproud told farmers in Tamworth that the Coalition would not ‘bankroll multi-national insurance companies’ seeking to establish a farm income insurance policy market in Australia.  While claiming the Coalition supports the insurance products, and will encourage uptake, there is no further detail available about what the Minister actually means by his statements,” Mr Madden said.

“While cost is often cited as a barrier to entry for potential customers, the biggest challenge is the lack of consistent information about policies and sufficient education of the farming, insurance and banking sectors about how farm income protection insurance could benefit a farm business.”

Mr Madden said NSW Farmers has long-supported these risk management products, and had written to Minister Littleproud in 2018 calling upon the Government to do more to champion these risk management and resilience-building products.

“In 2018 we called on the Federal Government to do more to support education and awareness about farm income protection insurance policies.  Since that time, the Government does not appear to have taken any steps to address grower concerns about these products and how to grow the market to a sustainable and affordable level.”

“Earlier this year, NSW Farmers’ members supported a call for the Federal Government to introduce a ‘stop loss’ mechanism to underpin the development of an risk insurance market in Australia.  We believe this is essential to drive the creation of a sustainable market and encourage uptake of these products, particularly in the recovery phase of drought.”

“In May, we will be hosting a roundtable involving banking, insurance and farming sectors to thrash out the key issues facing these products and how we can work together to encourage their uptake.”

Mr Madden called for clarity from all political parties ahead of the election.

“We also call upon Shadow Minister Joel Fitzgibbon to be equally upfront with Australian farmers about Labor’s plans to support risk management tools in agriculture,” Mr Madden said.
Date: 30 April 2019
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au