Posted December 23, 2018 18:30:36Cotton production is a vital part of Australia’s food security, yet it’s not always available in sufficient quantities to meet demand.
The Federal Government has agreed to phase out cotton production in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), as part of its new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Government says it will phase out the use of cotton in Australia’s largest cities by 2023, but critics say the move will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
The ACT is home to a number of key cotton producing regions, including Port Augusta, Port Augusta and Bundaberg.
The Government announced it would phase out its cotton production last month, but many in the cotton industry are concerned the Government is only making the announcement because of a national campaign by the Green Party.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has said the ACT Government is “laying the groundwork” for a similar phase out of cotton production, and is seeking to put pressure on the Government to do more.
He said the Government’s plan to phase in the phase out would mean the loss at least 1,400 jobs.
“I think this is really important, it’s important to stop this destruction of the economy, to stop the damage that is going to be done to the people of this country, to their livelihoods,” Mr Andrews said.
“This is the greatest threat to the future of our country and we have got to get rid of this.”
Mr Andrews said he believed it would be a mistake for the ACT to have a “national cotton crisis” which would be followed by the destruction of jobs in the industry.
“It’s going to result in the death of the cotton plant, because the ACT is the most productive cotton producing region in Australia,” he said.
He argued the ACT could also be a success story in the global economy.
“The ACT will be a great example of what can be done if we really get the industry right, the farmers right, so we’re making sure that we keep the industry thriving and we’re investing in the research and development so we can ensure we’re not seeing this sort of devastation to our economy.”
Mr Andrew said the move was part of a larger Government strategy to protect the country’s economy.
He also pointed out that the ACT had the highest level of cotton fibre production in Australia, and argued the Government had a responsibility to ensure that the industry was protected.
“We’ve got to do something about the destruction that we’ve seen in the ACT and we’ve got a responsibility as a Government to protect that industry and the people who work there, that’s what we’ve done,” Mr Andrew said.
Labor says it’s wrong to use the ACT as a test case for its climate policy.
“In my view, the ACT has no obligation to be a test bed for a policy that will lead the world in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions,” Ms Bishop said.
The Coalition has said it will not impose a national cotton phase out, but is considering other ways to protect Australia’s cotton industry.
Topics:government-and-politics,environment,environmental-impact,environment-management,environmentally-friendly-business-practice,environmentaustraliaFirst posted December 20, 2018 17:58:16More stories from Victoria