Libs have set benchmark: TFGA

THE Liberals' agriculture policy has ``set the benchmark for the other parties'', according to the state's peak farming body.  

Releasing the $37 million agriculture investment plan yesterday at a Richmond farm, Liberal leader Will Hodgman and Braddon MHA Jeremy Rockliff said they wanted to drive innovation and productivity in the  sector.

``We're unlocking $190 million worth of irrigation investment and water development,'' Mr Rockliff said. 

Both major parties have now promised $30 million to further investment in irrigation, but Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said the Liberals were one step ahead of Labor when it came to an agriculture plan.

Ms Davis welcomed $500,000 promised to Tasmanian Irrigation to investigate the modernising of existing schemes and to explore the potential for new schemes to connect to older schemes, saying it took irrigation development  ``to the next logical stage''. 

``It is gratifying to see the Liberals focused clearly on agriculture as a key economic driver for Tasmania, and recognising the important role farmers play in supporting local communities,'' Ms Davis said.

Included in the plan is funding for bio-security, research and development, a Private Forest Industry Development Program, and a review of the right-to-farm legislation. 

Ms Davis said the TFGA did not get everything it asked for in the policy, but it ticked a lot of boxes.

``I don't expect to see everything, but it is a good reflection,'' Ms Davis said. 

Premier Lara Giddings promised funding for irrigation projects last month, and said Labor had undertaken the biggest rollout of irrigation schemes in the state's history.

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