NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has announced detailed plans to use the new Western Sydney airport as a once-in-a-century opportunity to link our agricultural industry to international markets.

It would be the key to giving a huge boost to NSW fresh farm produce throughout South East Asia – and globally.

Mr Foley told the annual meeting of the NSW Farmers Association in Sydney this afternoon that a food and agribusiness precinct based around the new airport would be capable of delivering fresh produce and pre-prepared food anywhere in the world within 36 hours – from paddock to consumption.

It would also create 12,000 jobs.

If elected in March, Labor’s sweeping overhaul of the food supply chain will include:

  • Spending $4 million immediately to fast track an investor-ready prospectus to develop a Fresh Food precinct within the Western Sydney airport
  • Spending another $1.5 million to explore how to improve the logistical networks that connect that airport with other parts of the State and with the major ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle
  • And another million dollars over three years for a special envoy to Asian markets – to determine the specific demand for NSW produce. That envoy will work with NSW government offices already throughout Asia.

Mr. Foley has already announced that a Labor government will allocate 100 per cent of the Snowy Hydro funds to regional and rural areas of the State.

He said that investment in the food supply chain will also require more investment in new technologies in plant breeding, energy and water management, safety and quality and in advanced transport and logistics management.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

NSW farm communities are doing it as tough as they’ve ever done and see no real relief until the drought ends. Agriculture demands an immediate reaction to that situation now – and a medium term plan for an world-class industry which employs 80,000 people and supports towns and communities throughout this entire State.’

“The success of agriculture is the success of the State. We need to restore New South Wales as the premier agricultural state in the nation.

‘I’ve been telling State and Federal governments to look at The Netherlands, where Schiphol has transformed itself into an export hub for processing food and fibre. That followed strong leadership by the Dutch government. The Netherlands is now the second largest exporter of food – in the world. We can emulate that for NSW farmers – through the Western Sydney Airport.’

Quotes attributable to Shadow Primary Industries Minister Mick Veitch

“80 per cent of this State’s agriculture produce comes from west of the Great Dividing Range. There are estimates that the cost of transporting produce from paddock to port can be as high as 30 per cent. Yet there is a clear lack of investment in east-west freight links, particularly to the ports. We can change that.’

‘We are saying that we need efficient supply and distribution networks to ensure our farmers have a competitive edge and our world-class primary produce is delivered to new markets in China, India and across South-East Asia.”