Call for Holistic Approach to Sustainable Agriculture
Leading Australian consultancy, Strategic Sustainability Consultants, has put forward a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources Inquiry into Growing Australian Agriculture to $100 Billion by 2030.
The submission was written in partnership with the Global Goals Australia Campaign, an Australian not-for-profit with the aim of raising awareness on the United Nations' 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development within the political, business, community and education sectors across the nation.
The submission focused on the need to achieve the Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, when considering growing Australia's primary production industry over the coming ten years.
The Global Goals, also known as the SDGs, were agreed upon in 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly by all 193 United Nations member states. Ms Julie Bishop, our Foreign Minister at the time, signed on behalf of Australia.
The 17 goals are accompanied by 169 targets and 232 measurable indicators which provide a roadmap for governments, businesses, not-for-profits, educational institutions and individuals around economic, social and environmental between 2016 and 2030.
"The achievement of a combined $100 billion value of production by 2030 in the primary production sector in Australia requires a holistic approach through sound and sustainable economic, social and environmental policy," explained Strategic Sustainability Consultants CEO, Caterina Sullivan. "Growth is only meaningful and impactful if it can be sustained into the future."
A large portion of the submission includes advocacy for sustainable agricultural practices. Ms Sullivan recognises that some farmers, especially small-scale farmers, may be hesitant to implementing some of these practices.
"I understand that there are some farmers in Australia, who are looking to retire in the coming years. The median age for farmers in Australia is very high, currently at 54 years of age. This means there are many farmers around the country who are not looking to plan for the next 10 years. With sustainable agricultural practices often requiring somewhat of a significant financial outlay which does not pay off for several years, there will be some resistance to adopting these practices," Ms Sullivan commented.
The young sustainability expert is hopeful however that the government will see the value of sustainable agricultural practices in growing the industry and make a commitment to incentivising farmers who implement such practices.
At the launch of the inquiry, Chair of the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, Mr Rick Wilson MP, expressed the committee's enthusiasm for the inquiry. "Whether it be improving market access, investing in marketing, or embracing innovative technologies that increase the efficiency, sustainability, and productivity of our farms, the Committee is interested in all the opportunities available to drive growth in Australian agricultural businesses in the coming decades."
The submission put forward by Strategic Sustainability Consultants included over 80 recommendations around economic, social and environmental development in the regions.
Submissions are still open for the inquiry, closing on November 28, 2019. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources will conduct a series of public hearings before finalising their report next year.
Read the full submission online.