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Breakfast with the minister

A new national biosecurity strategy, fire and flooding disasters in Victoria's rural communities and opportunities to address climate change in the agricultural sector - these were a few of the topics that federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt touched on this morning.

He was speaking at a Rural Press Club of Victoria agribusiness breakfast in Melbourne, which our writers Claire Crawford and Catherine Norwood attended.

Interesting to see a strong contingent from agricultural bodies and supporting service sectors joining journalists at the event.

Other issues to feature include funding needed for roads and other infrastructure in Victoria, to "build back better", water buybacks and the Murray Darling Basin Plan, the new biosecurity protection levy, and the fall in livestock prices, which are not being matched by falls in supermarket meat prices.

Responding to a question on the value of our research and development corporations, Minister Watt said ABARES research suggested that annual farm gate profits had fallen by 23% over the past 20 years as a result of climate change. That figure would have been significantly higher without the work of the RDCs, he said.

The government was keen to see greater collaboration between them on common issues, including climate and decarbonising agriculture, and was prepared to hear policy advice from the RDCs.

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