It's also where, last year, I saw Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham launch the Greens Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Land Use policy. This policy expresses the Greens' understanding that agriculture (food and fibre) is fundamental to our civilisation and adopts serious measures to protect that foundation.
The farmer-friendly principles that inform the policy are aimed at protecting health, quality of life and prosperity in rural communities against the assault of multinational corporations and the disastrous CSG and coal-mining efforts of Coalition and Labor governments.
Our presence at AGQUIP was noticed and, I'm glad to say, warmly received. Farmers expressed to us their fears about nearby coal mines degrading their land and livelihoods, and the risks to our irreplaceable water-table from CSG extraction. Although we attracted a few quizzical looks and the odd jibe, it was very encouraging to engage in friendly, frank and up-front discussion with local producers looking after their land.
The Sustainable Agriculture policy, and our many others that will protect native forests and support local communities, are a big part of the reason why Greens are enjoying renewed interest among voters in rural areas. The 2015 NSW election confirmed that the Greens are becoming a visible and viable political force in rural NSW.
As a potential Upper House representative for the Greens, I look forward to the opportunity to continue engaging with communities who represent a new well of support for the Greens. Events like AGQUIP are a fantastic chance to display our farming-friendly policies, and confirm the Greens as a political force that can also serve the needs of communities across rural and regional NSW.