Media release

Canavan’s exit an opportunity for Joyce to promote agriculture, safeguard water

Senator Matt Canavan’s shock exit from Cabinet creates a great opportunity to focus the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) on agriculture and away from the Adani coal project.


Farmers for Climate Action – a network of more than 2000 farmers – said the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce now holds all the cards to make the change as he replaces Senator Canavan as the Minister for Northern Australia.

“In March this year Mr Joyce gave a speech urging superannuation funds to invest more in agriculture, noting that the sector was outperforming coal and iron ore. Now he has the opportunity to do exactly this, through advocating that NAIF funding focuses on removing the barriers to agricultural growth in Northern Australia,” Farmers for Climate Action chief executive Verity Morgan-Schmidt said.


“This is a great opportunity for the Deputy Prime Minister to stand up for his constituency and be a true champion for farmers and graziers.”


High profile graziers in Northern Australia, like Angus Emmott from Longreach and Bruce Currie from Alpha, have expressed concerns about the impact the Adani coal project and other new mines will have on groundwater.


Earlier this month, Mr Emmott started a petition against Adani’s 60-year water licence which has attracted almost 70,000 signatures.


“Coal mining expansion in the Galilee Basin risks the productive capacity of the Central Queensland beef industry. As Agriculture Minister and now acting Minister for Northern Australia, Barnaby Joyce has an opportunity to show his true commitment to a strong agricultural industry,” Mr Emmott said.


“Right now, there is $5 billion up for grabs in federal funding towards infrastructure across Northern Australia. Funding which is desperately needed to overcome the barriers currently holding back agricultural productivity. With Barnaby in the role, he can do the right thing by his constituency, and ensure this investment of public money supports agricultural innovation,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.


“We know that a thriving rural sector is the backbone of sustainable prosperity and long term employment in regional Australia. Our future depends on reliable access to groundwater and food security, not in subsidising International billionaires and fossil fuels.”


Media inquiries: Zoe Edwards on 0400 144 794