Family Farms and Country Life

Country Policy

Family First has been a strong advocate for country Australians. The country lifestyle is an ideal way to raise a family, and regional cities have the lifestyle and housing affordability that should see significant population growth in country areas.

Democracy demands that the greatest population attracts more seats in Parliament. The unfortunate consequence is that the country economic engine room is often neglected due to short-term metropolitan vote-buying policies.

Family First supports the Western Australian Royalties for Regions program, and seeks that all States and Territories have the same regime in place. Under Family First’s Royalties for Regions program, 15% of all mining royalties must be spent in the regional areas that contribute 100% of the mineral resources. This money is set aside in a fund to be spent on infrastructure needs in regional areas.

Family First supports free trade. We campaigned at the 2013 Federal Election that the next Government must sign Free Trade deals with South Korea, Japan and China – and the Abbott Government delivered. These deals represent 50% of our overseas trade, dropping prohibitive tariffs against Australian farm and other exports.

Family First supports food security and transparency on foreign acquisitions of Australian farming land. We have for a long time campaigned for state-based and Federal registers of foreign ownership, and a requirement that the Foreign Investment Review Board review significant foreign purchases of farm land, and any purchase of farm land by a state-owned foreign entity.

Family First supports State and Federal laws that protect farmers’ property rights – to ensure that when native vegetation, natural resources management, mining, water restriction or other legislation diminish a farmer’s economic land value, that the farmer is given just compensation for that loss in value. Family First has campaigned for the reinstatement of police stock squads and a stronger focus on rural theft.

Country roads require equal funding compared to city roads, having regard to road fatality and injury statistics. Road safety improvement funding should reflect evenly on the per capita, per fatality, per kilometre of road to maintain ratios of every State, Territory and local government area. Reducing speed limits is a lazy policy approach to road safety, and only serves to exacerbate the tyranny of distance felt by people living in the country.

Family First opposes radical animal activists, and trusts and supports farmers in exercising their right to manage their animals in a humane and responsible way. Animal activists who trespass or engage in other acts harmful to persons, property or a farmer’s business should be prosecuted.

Family First supports country hospitals being run by their own local health boards, not centralised bureaucracies in major cities.