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March 24, 2020

TMA Letter to David Littleproud, MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management



The Hon. David Littleproud MLC
Minister for Agriculture Drought and Emergency Management
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

The Provision of Essential Services to the Agricultural Industry

The Federal Government is leading the nation through uncharted times as you seek to protect us from the impacts of COVID-19.

It is understood that in addition to steps already undertaken, various segments of the economy may need to consider the shutdown of unessential services and businesses in support of these efforts.

The Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia is the National body representing Agricultural Machinery Importers, Manufacturers and Distributors, a role it has performed for over 70 years.

While there is no argument that agriculture is an essential service, I write to ensure that this exemption also covers the industries and suppliers on which agriculture relies to operate. Specifically, I request the distribution, supply, service and provision of equipment and parts for and of agricultural machinery be included in the definition of essential services.

Australian farmers are reliant on timely and efficient support from a network of agricultural machinery dealerships across the nation.  As an example, our machinery importers, local manufacturers, dealerships and their farming customers wish to avoid any disruption which may impact the seeding program over the next three to four months. This program is vital to ensuring adequate stocks of grain will be available to the nation later in the year.

As part of providing this service it is also essential to protect the interstate, intrastate and international freight network required for efficient delivery of parts and equipment into and from all states and territories.

Many Agricultural businesses across the country have already taken proactive and prudent steps to protect their staff and customers from the transmission of COVID-19 while conducting their day to day business. You are a strong advocate of the agricultural sector and we are seeking your support to ensure that the industry responsible for the distribution, supply, service and provision of equipment and parts for and of agricultural machinery can continue to support farmers.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on 0418 512 030 or if you require further information.

Gary Northover
Executive Director
Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia

24th March 2020