Days after a union claimed up to ten Wagga research jobs will be axed, Australia's largest state farming organisation has backed grain researchers.
Last week the Public Service Association (PSA) released a statement asserting 10 jobs will go at the Grains Agronomy and Pathology Partnership (GAPP) at the end of this financial year. The union claims 20 more jobs will be axed at Tamworth.
While he refused to comment on the claims, NSW Farmers CEO Pete Arkle did say "any reduction in research and development funding will limit potential growth for the agriculture sector."
He also came out in strong support of grain research jobs.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"NSW Farmers is very supportive of research and development projects that help develop a stronger future for agriculture," Mr Arkle said.
"Our farmers are some of the best in the world, doing the best they can to be productive and profitable despite tough conditions at times," he said.
"We see research and development as absolutely essential to building more productive capacity into the agriculture sector, and a good investment for governments as it will deliver better economic returns in the long run."
Mr Arkle said research into drought resistant farming, like what is being done by GAPP researchers, is very important.
"Australian agriculture has experienced many droughts, and we know there will be more droughts in the future," he said.
"Farmers know they need to prepare for droughts and any advances we make in this space will help our sector be more resilient, which in turn will result in more economic activity and more productivity."
Last week, assistant PSA secretary Troy Wright said the apparent decision by the state government beggars belief.
"We live in a sunburnt country which we know is getting more and more parched and this mob in Macquarie Street are pinching pennies," Mr Wright said.
"Researchers shouldn't have to beg for funds. Imagine if nurses asked sick people for 50 dollars or police let victims of crime buy them lunch," he said.
"Surely our farming industry isn't going to suffer due to a power struggle between state and federal LNP governments and farmers over who will pay for inventing global warming-proof chickpeas, canola or rye?"
On being made aware of the PSA claims, The Daily Advertiser also approached both the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders, but both failed to confirm or deny them.
Announced five years ago, the $130 million GAPP program was funded by the NSW and federal governments and has been successful in developing drought-resistant crops.
The GAPP is a partnership between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the DPI.
The partnership has three major investment areas, namely winter crop agronomy research, winter crop pathology research and an infrastructure, capacity building and skills development program.
It is understood the GAPP employs a number of other staff in towns and cities across NSW and QLD.
A spokesperson for the DPI said their five-year partnership contract with the GRDC is due end on June 30 with negotiations for a future partnership currently underway.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.