The cynical timing of a review of the Primary Growth Partnership over the summer break illustrates the coalition Government’s priorities do not lie with growing the primary sector, National Party Spokesperson for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says.
“Stakeholders have been given an impossibly small window of opportunity to provide feedback on the Government’s mindless proposals – it looks like the January 14 deadline has been set to ensure as little feedback as possible.
“MPI officials have even acknowledged that “this is not the best time of the year for such an exercise”.
“This is a slap in the face from the Government that claimed it would operate with openness and transparency.
“It’s clear that the tight time frames over the summer break are because the Minister doesn’t want any critical feedback from those on the front line of innovation.
“To make matters worse, there will be no new funding allocated to programmes while the review analysis is underway - and that’s likely to take several months.
“This all comes on the back of raiding $17 million from the PGP to fund an unnecessary rebranding of MPI.
“Damien O’Connor talks up how more collaboration is needed in the Primary Sector, yet doesn’t seem to realise it’s staring him in the face.”
Mr Guys says projects funded by the PGP include the Red Meat Profit Partnership which has six different meat entities working together to add value in the meat sector, as well as the Lifestyle Wines programme which has 11 wineries collaborating to produce wine with lower calories and alcohol.
“This review is blatantly timed to slip under the radar and is a smokescreen for the Government to raid research and development funding from the Primary Sector.
“Stakeholders have every reason to be very nervous of this new Government’s attitude towards the Primary Sector.”