BEGA Valley Shire Council Mayor Bill Taylor was among seven shire council representatives from across the South East to meet with Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy and Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce on Friday.
The meeting took the form a roundtable discussion where Mr Joyce explained current federal agricultural policy and took questions from shire mayors.
In attendance were Mayor Taylor, Palerang Mayor Pete Harrison, Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Lindsay Brown, Bombala Shire Mayor Bob Stewart, Snowy River Shire Mayor John Cahill, Cooma-Monaro Shire Deputy Mayor Bronnie Taylor and Queanbeyan City Deputy Mayor Peter Bray.
“I was delighted to host a round-table discussion today in my Queanbeyan electorate office involving all seven shire councils in Eden-Monaro and the federal Minister for Agriculture, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP,” Dr Hendy said.
“I really appreciate Barnaby Joyce making himself available to meet with the various shire councils to discuss agricultural issues, including new policy directions outlined in the Government’s issues paper, drought relief, pests and weed control,” Dr Hendy said.
“I would describe the session as interactive, informative, but also an opportunity to frame our particular sets of issues and concerns with Minister Joyce.
“It was therefore a golden opportunity to share information and perspectives, and to clarify the Government’s approach to the agriculture sector.
“Having access like this to a Cabinet Minister was fantastic,” Dr Hendy said.
Cr Taylor felt it had been a productive meeting.
“It’s always good to have a chance to discuss these types of issues with the Federal Agriculture Minister.
“Minister Joyce talked about the government’s issue paper and all the mayors brought up topics important to their shires.
“For me, I think food security needs to be a real focus of government policy, as well as more popular support for agriculture.
“Getting across the importance of agriculture and food security to city populations, and to the Australian population in general, needs to be a priority and this will require really educating people.
“A topic brought up by most shire mayors was weed control, and one Minister Joyce really seemed to grab on to.
“That’s obviously one of importance to the Bega Valley so it was good to hear the Agricultural Minister’s thoughts on that.”